ROCKSPRINGS — When the 2019 Meigs County Fair Queen is crowned on Sunday evening, the 2018 royalty will see their reign come to an end.
The 2018 Meigs County Fair Royalty included King Austin Rose, Queen Mattison Finlaw, First Runner-Up Raeven Reedy, Livestock Prince Matthew Jackson, Livestock Princess Raeann Schagel, Little Mister Reece Davis, and Little Miss Morgan Durst.
For both the King and Queen, becoming fair royalty is part of a family tradition.
Rose’s father Brent Rose was the 1991 Meigs County Fair King, while uncle Jeff Rose was Fair King and aunt Tara Rose Roberts was Fair Queen. Brent Rose and Tara Rose Roberts are both Senior Fair Board members and remain active in the fair, while Austin is the Junior Fair Board Vice President and sill serves as acting president during the fair, as the current president is one of the two queen candidates for this year.
Turning 18 earlier this month, Rose has been at the Meigs County Fair every year since he was born, and said he has not missed a day, following in the footsteps of his dad who has attended all 45 fairs in his lifetime.
“Mom and dad even met at the Mason County Fair,” said Brent Rose, noting that the fair runs in the family’s blood.
“It is an honor to carry on the tradition,” said Austin Rose.
Likewise, Finlaw has carried on the family tradition with being crowned Fair Queen in 2018.
“My favorite part has probably been more of a personal thing. I’ve always wanted to be fair queen because I’m third generation Fair Royalty so that was really important to me to carry on that family tradition,” said Finlaw.
It is that tradition, and the traditions of others that have been Finlaw’s favorite part of being Fair Queen.
“My favorite part of that has been going to all the other fairs and seeing their traditions. Because every place has different traditions and its so awesome to be able to take that in and learn about, even in such a small area of Ohio, like the different culture that every fair has. Every place has a different feel, a different energy,” said Finlaw.
As Fair Queen, and also one of the county’s four Bicentennial Ambassadors, Finlaw added, “I just want to represent as well as I can. There is nothing more important to me than that. I just want to be a good face for the county, its a place of honor and you always want to have your best face forward.”
Austin Rose has spent a great deal of time traveling across the state to fairs and events representing the county over the past year. In total, he has been part of eight local parades, attended two festivals, the Ohio State Fair and more than 20 other fairs, the furthest of which was the Canfield Fair in Mahoning County. Rose said it has been fun traveling with the royalty advisor, fellow royalty, family and other throughout the year.
He noted that when he was Livestock Prince a few years ago he went to several events, but could not do as much because of school. As king, even if it was a quick stop to visit the fair, he said he tried to make it to all of them that he could.
For Schagel, her favorite part of going to the different fairs as Livestock Princess was “seeing all the different kids and how much work they put into their projects.”
She added that the State Fair is always fun to visit, particularly seeing the Butter Cow.
Little Mister Reece Davis also enjoyed his visit to the Butter Cow at the State Fair. Davis has spent much of the past month traveling around to other fairs, visiting 11 fairs in total, in addition to taking part in several parades over the past year.
Asked about his favorite part, Davis said, “Going to all the fairs”, adding that his favorite was “The Big One” meaning the Ohio State Fair.
His favorite part of the Meigs County Fair last year as Little Mister was the cows, and being able to show a “baby cow.” He is looking forward to spending time at this year’s fair riding the rides, including his favorite the Ferris wheel. He has also helped to paint during the recent painting work completed in the beef barn at the fairgrounds.
For Little Miss Morgan Durst, she was excited to receive her crown and sash, adding that those were her favorite things about being Little Miss. She added that she also enjoyed riding rides at the fair and when visiting other fairs.
Schagel has a few more years before she is eligible to run for Meigs County Fair Queen, but offered advice for future royalty.
“It’s a lot of work but it pays off and is a lot of fun,” said Schagel.
As for advice he would offer to future royalty, Rose said, “Represent the county very well; go to as many fairs as possible.”
He added that it is bittersweet to be ending his time as king.
“It will be good to see how the upcoming royalty represent the county and see how far they go,” said Rose.
Finlaw added that her advice to Gabrielle and Raeven (the 2019 Queen candidates) is “do not take yourself too seriously.”
“I think that you get into this position and you’re always worried about looking your best and showing your best face to everybody, but sometimes it’s more important … to be with the kids and showing them what 4-H can do for them and giving them the opportunity,” said Finlaw. “It’s supposed to be fun. Don’t be an untouchable queen. It sounds strange, but it’s much more important to be out there than to be Queen.”
Each year, Meigs County Fair Royalty Advisor Elizabeth Lawrence spends time with the royalty traveling to many fairs and events. As her time with the 2018 royalty comes to a conclusion, Lawrence recently sent a message to the royalty team.
“Enjoy this last week of your reign. I’ve enjoyed every second of our travels. Best of luck to Matti and Austin. Hoping to see Raeann, Matthew, Reese and Morgan in the future when it’s time for you to be queens and kings. Best of luck to Raeven as she competes this year for queen, along with Gabby. Both are excellent choices and will make us proud,” said Lawrence.
“Continue to support Meigs County and be obnoxiously proud of your roots. You can always come ‘home’,” concluded Lawrence.
The 2019 Queen candidates are Gabrielle Beeler and Raeven Reedy. The Queen will be crowned following the parade and opening ceremony on Sunday evening, with the events to begin at 7:30 p.m. There are no candidates for king, livestock prince or livestock princess. The Little Miss and Mister will be crowned on Monday morning in a separate competition.