The lights are bright, the questions are difficult and the competition is tough, but newly crowned 4-H queen Sara Arnold attributes her victory Friday to a boost in confidence she received from competing in last year’s contest.
“I was a lot more nervous last year,” she said. “The whole contest is to be yourself, and I was so nervous I wasn’t myself.”
Matthew Lenhart, 15, of Thurmont, and Arnold, 18, of Jefferson, will represent the fair this year as 4-H king and queen. Lenhart is secretary of the Lewistown Mt. View 4-H Club, and his projects include dairy, cooking and shooting sports. Arnold is a member of the Calico Clovers 4-H Club, and her projects include fashion revue, serving as a camp counselor and photography.
The pair will attend events throughout fair week, and hand out ribbons for 4-H winners, as well as greet visitors to the 4-H building. They replace last year’s winners, Megan Toms and Levi Hooper, both of Frederick. Junior royalty winners were Princess Brietta Lanham, of Frederick and Prince Jackson Kuster, of Walkersville. Each submitted an essay to compete.
Arnold, who graduated from Brunswick High School in May and attends Frederick County Community College, was greeting visitors to the chicken building on Monday morning wearing her newly won crown and sash.
Competitors submitted resumes, essays and had interviews before Friday night’s competition, which had contestants read and answer randomly selected questions in front of an audience and a panel of three judges. Participants must be 4-H members. The king and queen each receive a $1,000 scholarship from The Great Frederick Fair.
“You can tell as soon as the person reads it if they got a good question or not,” Arnold said, laughing.
Lenhart, a junior at Catoctin High School, was a newcomer to the competition, and ran against his cousin, Eric Myers, a sophomore at Catoctin High School.
“A friend talked me into it,” Lenhart said of his decision to compete.
Arnold said she was shocked to find out she won, with strong competition from the 12 other candidates.
“They called my name and I was speechless,” she said. “I was shocked.”
“I was nervous, very nervous,” Lenhart said. “There were a lot of lights. I really couldn’t see anybody, just a lot of lights.”
While the pair had only been crowned for a few days on Monday, both said they have had many people recognize them and offer congratulations.
“I’ve gotten a whole bunch of congratulations — people I don’t even know,” Arnold said.
For Lenhart, his title has generated some good-natured teasing.
“A lot of people I know have been coming up and curtsying, saying ‘Congratulations, king,’” he said, laughing.