BY MARK HOSKINS
Last Monday evening, Brownstown saw two of their own earn county fair titles as Kaylee Sefton was named Miss Fayette County and Ella Lach won the Little Miss Fayette County crown.
Sefton, 20, attends Lake Land College and is pursuing a nursing degree. She then plans to transfer to SIUE to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Sefton plans on working as an OB nurse or working in the field of woman and infant care.
Sefton won the crown last Monday, edging out six other competitors from throughout Fayette County. The other young ladies competing were Miriam Blomberg (17, from Farina), Marlee Nolen (17, from St. Elmo), Amber Halstead (18, from Brownstown), Baylie Maske (17, from St. Peter), Tessa Philpot (19, from St. Elmo), and Dana Shelton (18, from St. Elmo).
Nolen finished as the second runner-up while Philpot was named first runner-up. Shelton won People’s Choice as well as Miss Congeniality. Nolen was named Miss Photogenic.
Ella Lach won the Little Miss crown, beating out 23 other girls vying for the title. Lach is five years old and from Brownstown. Kinley Walker (6, from St. Elmo) won the People’s Choice award. Aniston Mahon (7, from St. Elmo) was named the second runner-up while Zoey Kraemer (5, from St. Peter) was named the first runner-up.
The competition started with all the girls introducing themselves and then performing a dance routine. That was followed by a question-and-answer segment in which the ladies fielded questions from 2017 Miss Fayette County, Elizabeth Miller.
Next, any and all past fair queens in the audience were asked to come up to the stage. Women of all ages came to the stage, totaling 19 past Queens, Jr. Misses, and Little Misses from as far back as 1979. There were also 15 pageant winners from other surrounding counties present on stage, representing Effingham, Clay, Coles, and Cumberland counties.
The first half of the Little Miss contestants then introduced themselves on stage and each girl answered a question from Miller. Following the swimsuit portion of the queen pageant, the second half of the Little Miss contestants got to introduce themselves on stage.
After all the Little Miss candidates graced the stage, them performed a dance routine to “Move Your Feet/D.A.N.C.E./It’s a Sunshine Day” from the Trolls Soundtrack.
Next, the evening gown and communication portion of the competition saw the ladies each get a chance to speak on a topic they felt strongly about. The ladies touched on everything from stereotypes to agricultural importance to gender equality. Sefton spoke about the importance of following one’s dreams and she related that point to her own goals of working in the medical field.
After farewell speeches from outgoing Fayette County Fair Queen Elizabeth Miller and outgoing Little Miss Ryker Burns, the time had arrived to announce the winners. Tears of joy were shed as Sefton and Lach were named the 2018 Miss Fayette County and 2018 Little Miss Fayette County.