Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2013, 9:16 pm

RI County Fair queen now reigns over state

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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

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Miss Rock Island County Fair Queen Amelia Martens, of Orion, is crowned Miss Illinois County Fair 2013 by 2012 Queen Brittani Schisler during a ceremony in Springfield on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. Ms. Martens is a 2010 graduate of Orion High School and is pursuing a degree in agricultural communications at the University of Illinois. The pageant was part of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs convention.
It was a big weekend for Miss Rock Island County Fair QueenAmelia Martens.

The 20-year-old Orion native was crownedMiss Illinois County Fair on Sunday in Springfield during the annual convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs.

"It's a dream come true," Ms. Martens said recently in an email, adding she is thankful for the support she's received from her parents, friends, the Rock Island County Fair Board and pageant director Shauna Learn.

As the Miss Illinois County Fair queen, Ms. Martens will be the official hostess of the Illinois State and DuQuoin State fairs this summer. She also received a $1,000 scholarship from Prairie Farms and many gifts, according to the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs' website, illinoiscountyfairs.org.

Ms. Martens said the 70 contestants vying for the crown were split into two preliminary groups during last weekend's competition, which consisted of a one-minute speech, a four minute interview and evening gown and swimsuit categories.

The top 15 contestants were announced on Sunday night, Ms. Martens said, and the slate was "wiped clean."

"We all had a two-minute interview, three onstage questions, our speech, then swimsuit and evening gown. It was a long evening," she said.

Then, she was crowned the winner.

"It is truly an honor to represent the state of Illinois and agriculture as Miss Illinois County Fair," Ms. Martens said. "I am very excited about my year of service and look forward to traveling the state this summer, visiting county fair queen pageants and spreading the message of agriculture."

Ms. Martens is a 2010 graduate of Orion High School and is attending the University of Illinois, majoring inagricultural communications. She is the daughter ofPatrick and Annette Martens.

The Illinois State Fair will take place Aug. 9-19 in Springfield, and the DuQuoin State Fair will be Aug. 24-Sept. 3.

For more information, visit illinoisstatefair.info or illinoiscountyfairs.org.