Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Rockville, Damascus teens are king and queen of the fair

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Naomi Brookner/The Gazette
The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair king Andrew Dobos, 17, of Rockville and queen Bree Feuillet, 18, of Damascus pose with one of the queen's lambs Friday.

The carnival rides have moved on to their next location and the animals are back in their stalls or off to market, but memories of the 60th annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair will linger for Andrew Dobos of Rockville and Bree Feuillet of Damascus, who were named this year's king and queen.

The honor capped years of participation in 4-H.

"I wasn't expecting it … I thought I had a very good shot, but it was a good surprise," Feuillet, 18, said.

Feuillet's older sisters, Alicia and Erin, had had their own turns as queen.

"I was extremely thrilled and honored," Feuillet said.

Each of the five princes and princesses on the stage was qualified to win, she said.

"It was great, a real honor," Dobos, 17, said. "The applause was just amazing. It was the scariest feeling of my life … totally nerve-wracking beyond belief."

This was Dobos' third year on the royal court and he did not expect to win, he said.

Judging was based on written applications and interviews conducted in the spring, said Lorelei Irons, a volunteer who chairs the royal court.

"They've done so much in their community," Irons said. "A big part of what they're judged on is community involvement, as well as involvement in the [agricultural] center itself."

For Feuillet, that meant church mission trips, making meals for abused families living in Laytonsville Haven and helping her father rebuild the sheep barns at the fairgrounds over the last four years, said Donna Feuillet, her mother.

She belongs to the Damascus 4-H Community Club, Damascus Livestock Club and the Montgomery County Sheep and Swine 4-H Club. She was also involved in the Damascus High School Leo Club.

Feuillet was recently named a 4-H All Star, an invitation-only designation similar to becoming an Eagle Scout.

"She's worked hard, very hard," Donna Feuillet said.

Dobos, 17, did much of his volunteer work through the Lucky Clovers 4-H Club, which is a service-oriented club, and through school. He also belongs to the Flying Tigers Aerospace Club. He is entering his senior year at St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C.

The Lucky Clovers went to the Aspen Hill Library once a month to help young children with their reading, planted flower beds at the fairgrounds, made hats for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and sent boxes to soldiers in Iraq. At school, Dobos was named a peer minister and will help with orientation.

Royal duties during the fair included handing out blue ribbons at the livestock shows and posing with buyers and their animals at the livestock auctions. They also included touring the fairgrounds regularly to talk to visitors.

Dobos could be spotted by his royal medallion and Feuillet by her royal sash and crown.

After six hours of standing and posing for pictures during the big livestock auction, "I thought I was going to fall over," Dobos said. "My legs were on fire."

Holding a smile so long made his jaw ache, he said.

Feuillet enjoyed being part of the fair's first goat sale and congratulating all the 4-H winners.

Although the royal days were long, "Everything was exciting, I never got tired of doing something," she said.

The king and queen attended several early-morning breakfasts and VIP luncheons.

At one they met The Pioneers, the people who bought the land for the fairgrounds and started the fair.

"I learned a lot about the fair and how it was started," Feuillet said.

And how it has changed, such as the discontinued women's mud wrestling contests.

Meeting The Pioneers gave Dobos insight into the workings of the fair and inspired him to stay involved with it. He hopes that someday he will be called on to describe his 50 years at the fair.

Dobos and Feuillet normally enter many projects in the fair, but this year they cut back on their entries. Feuillet entered sheep, arts and crafts projects, sewing and a pineapple cake, which won first place. Dobos normally enters sewing and model rocket projects, but this year only entered one cake, a blue ribbon-winning angel food cake.

At the 4-H cake auction, Dobos' parents got into a bidding war for the cake, which sold to another family for $1,400. Feuillet's cake sold for $500. The money raised at the auction supports 4-H.

The king and queen each received a $400 scholarship.

Later this week, Feuillet will leave to start her freshman year at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She plans to major in elementary education.

Dobos, who plays every percussion instrument, plans to have a career in music.