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Fair Opens With Crowning Of Royalty

By Staff | Jul 26, 2016

FAIR?ROYALTY - Rachel Hoffman of West Bend, second from left, was crowned as the 2016 Palo Alto County Fair Queen Thursday night in Emmetsburg. Crowning her successor was the 2015 Palo Alto County Fair Queen, Cassy Olesen of Graettinger, at left. The royal court also included Megan Brown, third from left and Kelli Klepper, at right. The Palo Alto County Fair concluded its four-day run Sunday afternoon. -- Dan Voigt photo

Remaining cool under pressure and in the face of brutally hot temperatures, three young ladies took to the stage of the Open Air Pavilion at the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds Thursday night, July 21, to compete for the title of Palo Alto County Fair Queen 2016. Even though the temperature hovered near 100, when the final determination was made, 2015 Fair Queen Cassy Olesen toyed with the three contestants before placing the queen’s tiara on the head of Rachel Hoffman of West Bend. Hoffman is the daughter of Steve and Martha Hoffman of West Bend.

“I couldn’t believe it,”?Hoffman said moments after being crowned. “I was just so shocked. I’m so honored to represent Palo Alto County as the Fair Queen.”

Hoffman is a 2016 graduate of West Bend-Mallard High Shcool and plans to attend Iowa State University this Fall to study architecture.

Also competing for the Fair Queen title were Kelli Klepper of West Bend, the daughter of Jim and Pennie Klepper of West Bend and Megan Brown, the daughter of Larry and Renita Brown, also of West Bend.

Tasked with selecting the next Fair Queen were Deb Kibbie, SueAnne Deitering and former Fair Queen Lydia Reding. The panel of judges met with each of the contestants earlier Thursday for interviews, and the final judging took place Thursday evening with the on-stage question.

Master of Ceremonies Scott Smith asked Hoffman what opportunities to be a role model she had gained in 4-H and how she took advantage of them.

“I’ve gotten the opportunity to grow as a person and as a leader, and I’ve been able to help in leading our club and youth activities, as well as been able to make new friends,”?Hoffman replied.

Kelli Klepper was asked what impact working with children has had on her life, referring to Klepper’s work with the Little ‘Rines Preschool.

“The biggest impact on me has been that I’ve learned to listen more to children, and also have developed my problem-solving skills to find answers for the children,” Klepper replied.

Megan Brown was asked what she would tell fourth-grade girls about 4-H.

“I would tell them one of the best things about 4-H is the friends they will make and the things they can do. It’s a great experience and chance to learn more about themselves, too,”?Brown replied.

Following a final tabulation of the judges’ ballots, 2015 Fair Queen Cassy Olesen took the crown and carefully made her way behind the three candidates, teasing each one with the crown before placing it on Hoffman’s head as cheers and applause rang out.

As the 2016 Palo Alto CountyFair Queen, Rachel will represent Palo Alto County next month at the Iowa State Fair in the competition for the Iowa State Fair Queen.