Surrounded by the royal court, Grace Braver, 17, is crowned the 2018 Medina County Fair queen Monday night by 2017 queen Kelsey Chaye Hurley. Adam Stacko, right, was named fair king and Whalter Briggs, second from right, was first runner-up. NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE
MEDINA — Grace Braver and Adam Stacko will reign over the 173rd Medina County Fair this week.
They were crowned Monday night as fair queen and king.
“It is an honor. I am so excited. I was very shocked, but I couldn’t be happier,” Braver, 17, a Highland High School student, said after receiving her crown from 2017 fair queen Kelsey Chaye Hurley inside the pavilion.
Stacko, who is homeschooled, said being named king seems surreal.
“It is something I dreamed of as a little kid and started doing 4-H,” the 17-year-old said following the crowing ceremony. “Now to actually be king is huge, and just a big thanks to my parents and my lord and savior Jesus Christ for actually bringing me here.”
Medina resident Whalter Briggs of the Medina County Career Center was named first runner-up as king and Alexis Zgrabik, a Cloverleaf High School graduate, was named first runner-up as queen. Black River High School graduate Ashley Stroud was named second runner-up as queen.
Medina Centre for Dance Art owner Kelly Parks served as one of three judges during the competition for county residents ages 16-19.
“I really enjoyed getting to know the kids reading their applications, finding out what they are passionate about, seeing what they loved about our county and our fair,” Parks said.
Other judges included Janna Elkevizth, owner of Tangerine Parlour hair salon in Seville, and James Monhollen of the Medina Civil Service Commission.
Event emcee and Royal Court Committee Chairman Stuart Neal said all contestants submitted an application that included school activities, honors, clubs, fair activities and community service.
Contestants went through an initial round of interviews with a different panel of three judges July 7.
“This interview was conducted much like a judge interview,” Neal said.
During the interview, criteria included appearance and presentation, communication skills, personality, poise, activities, leadership, participation, initiatives and achievements.
During Monday’s event, each contestant was asked to choose a question at random and then answer it. Questions selected ranged from explaining the value of learning in school besides grades to telling the judges something they have experienced in life that has caused them grow or change significantly.
Candidates then were asked to select a word at random from a bag and explain what the definition of that word meant to them.
“This is our future, so we are always proud to showcase our kids,” Neal said. “The beauty of this event is it is the kids themselves, not a duck or a project. They are the project and that is not always easy.”
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