'This is an experience I've alway wanted'

Madeline Roche • Aug 14, 2019 at 7:00 PM

Fairgoers filled the bleachers at the Pickworth Judging Pavilion as the 2019 Huron County Fair royalty contest began.

After introductions Tuesday, contestants answered questions they prepared ahead of time, followed by “fishbowl questions,” which they were given on the spot.

During intermission, a pie auction took place, followed by an introduction of visiting fair royalty from various surrounding fairs and festivals. The 2018 Junior Fair Queen Kaitlynn Olak talked to the audience about her time a queen and her court shared memories and thank you’s from the previous year.

The contest then resumed.

“We are not picking winners from a group of representatives. We are picking representatives from a group of winners,” host Skip Wilde said before announcing the winners.

2019’s Junior Fair king and queen are William Flaherty and Katilynn Kamann. 

Both Flaherty and Kamann said they did not expect to win.

“I feel amazing. This is an experience I’ve always wanted,” Kamann said after being crowned. “I feel like everybody should experience this and try out, step out of their comfort zone and try something different. It’s an amazing experience.”

Kamann said she practiced “a lot” for the contest and went over what she wanted to say everyday.

Now that Kamann is queen, she has goals for the next year.

“As queen, I’m going to try to go to everything as possible and get my name out there. I want to promote the Huron County Fair as much as I can and try to get people to come out and experience this,” Kamann said. 

Kamann graduated from St. Paul High School and EHOVE Career Center. She plans to attend North Central State for speech pathology this fall. 

In high school, Kamann was a student ambassador and a player on the basketball team for St. Paul and was a member of the VIP team and Teen Leadership Corps at EHOVE. She currently is president of the Country Kids 4-H Club.

Kamann’s mother is Huron County Junior Fair Superintendent Tami Kamann.

“I am very, very proud of her,” she said.

The 2019 Junior Fair King also was excited about the results.

“I feel honored,” William Flaherty said.

As king, Flaherty said he wants to promote the Huron County Fair, as well as to be an example for younger children.

“When I was younger I was never able to speak to people, I was never able to get up on stage, so I want to be able to show kids through a real life example how far you can come with just a little bit of passion,” Flaherty said

Flaherty is going to pursue a career in zoology. He is an incoming senior at Plymouth High School and Ashland County West Holmes Career Center.

In addition to being the junior fair king, he also is the Ohio Rabbit King. Flaherty is heavily-involved in extra-curricular activities. He is the president of the Ripley Nifty Needles and Cookers 4-H Club, vice president of Plymouth FFA, president of the Junior Fair Board and a member of the Huron County 4-H Committee. Flaherty also is a student ambassador and a member of student counsel, National Technical Honor Society and Drug Free Clubs of America.

Flaherty’s mother, Shannon, showed her excitement after her son was announced as king.

“We’re very happy for him. He’s been wanting to do that for years,” Shannon said, adding she was “so excited” not only for her son, but also because Kamann is her Goddaughter.

Other members of the court are first attendant Ralph Missler III, second attendant Raegan Alsept and first attendant Amelia Ruggles. 

Ruggles said she was “super excited” and looking forward to what next year has in store. As first attendant she plans to visit other fairs and “get to work.”

As this was Ruggles second time in the contest, she said she encourages younger 4-Hers to keep trying.

“Always go for it a second time. Don’t ever give up and run again,” Ruggles said.