4-H Fair Queen stays busy during reign

By Mandy Underwood

Mariah Kirtlan, the Wabash County 4-H Fair Queen for 2019, has been busy sharing the joys of 4-H with the Wabash community.

She spoke with The Paper of Wabash County on Nov. 18 after visiting students at Metro North Elementary to talk with them about joining 4-H.

“A lot of my duties currently have to do with promoting 4-H. I have been going to different schools and talking with the students about what 4-H has to offer. Also, being in the parades and at events helps to promote 4-H as well, because people see me and think of 4-H,” said Kirtlan.

She said that she has gained a lot out of being Miss Wabash County and encourages any girl in 4-H who is old enough to consider participating in the 2020 queen contest.

Being a part of the contest, being crowned queen, and representing 4-H at the county fair and throughout this year has given her confidence and helped her to improve her interviewing skills and poise.

“I learned how to walk in heels, too,” she said. “I’m not really a girly-girl. I’m just a regular girl who works on the farm. That’s what is great about this, you don’t have to be a pageant girl, cause it’s not about beauty. It’s about more than that.” 

Kirtlan also shared that by winning this contest, she received a $1,000 scholarship that she is using toward her nursing degree that she is currently pursuing at Purdue-Fort Wayne.

Recently Kirtlan has also been preparing to represent Wabash County at the State Fair Queen Contest.

She said that her preparation includes practicing her interview skills, prepping her outfits for the contest, getting to know the State Fair better, and writing a speech that she will give during the contest.

Kirtlan will be traveling to the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis on Jan. 3, where she will be competing for 3 days in an effort to be crowned Miss Indiana State Fair 2020.

During this 62nd annual State Fair Queen Contest, queens from all county fairs in Indiana will come together and compete in four categories: the interview category, worth 45 percent of scoring, includes a three-minute interview with each of the three judges; professional wear, worth 20 percent of scoring; formal wear, also worth 20 percent of scoring; and the prepared speech, worth 15 percent of scoring.

For the speech category, all contestants are allowed to choose their own topic.

“It’s actually a lot harder than if they just gave you a topic,” said Kirtlan. “I have several running ideas for my topic, but I don’t want it to be a cookie-cutter speech, I want to stand out.”

Kirtlan looks forward to competing in January and is excited to meet other county queens and learn about their fairs and the differences of each county compared to Wabash.

Kirtlan also shared with The Paper that kids in Wabash County who are in grades 3-12 can sign up for 4-H until Jan. 15.

The cost of enrollment is $30 per child for unlimited projects, with a $90 limit per family, so if a family has four kids who want to participate, the fee will only be $90 instead of $120.

4-H offers an array of projects from livestock to photography.

“There are projects for anyone. You don’t have to be a farmer to be a part of 4-H,” said Kirtlan.

Anyone interested in 4-H can enroll online at

Posted on 2019 Nov 25