This year’s pageant has concluded and the search for the 2019 Scarecrow Festival Queen has come to an end with the crowning of Victoria Waits.
The crowning took place on Tuesday night during the pageant held at Sugar Grove United Methodist Church in Washington C.H. Kay Oughterson, a retired teacher who now works for Carnegie Public Library, was the master of ceremonies for the event and kept the crowd entertained while waiting for the ladies.
Waits is a senior at Miami Trace High School. This is her third year competing in the pageant.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “I’ve always had a lot of fun doing the pageant and this year felt more laid back and relaxed. It was great.”
Her favorite subject is literature. She has been actively involved in fundraisers for charities and at the Fayette County Fair.
Upon graduation, Waits plans to further her education to become a veterinarian. As she explained to the crowd at the pageant, one area she wants to study is acupuncture for animals and wants to bring those future skills back to the community.
During the pageant, Waits wore a green gown that flowed behind her. Many members of the crowd mentioned repeatedly how gorgeous it was.
She stood straight and had a huge smile throughout the event. Waits also made sure to consistently thank those before her whenever she spoke.
The first runner-up was Lexi Hagler. That name may sound familiar as Hagler was the 2018 Scarecrow Festival second runner-up.
Hagler is a sophomore at Miami Trace High School. Her favorite subject is English. Lexi has been actively involved in the Fayette County Fair where she has shown pigs for most of her life and even competed on a national level.
During this year’s pageant, she wore a red, off-the shoulders gown that sparkled in the light. Hagler kept herself poised and smiling throughout the pageant. She spoke both clearly and concisely when it was her turn to speak.
Upon graduation, Hagler would like to travel and further her education in order to become a large animal veterinarian.
The second runner-up was Ali Reeves, who is a senior at Washington High School. Reeves wore a gown with a floral print for the pageant. She spoke confidently and kept a big smile for everyone she made eye contact with.
Her favorite subjects are English and science. Reeves is certified in first aid and CPR. She considers her skills to include singing and playing trumpet.
Upon graduation, Reeves plans to join an expedited course to become a certified phlebotomist within approximately seven weeks and to then further her education so she can become a nurse practitioner.
There were 10 contestants who took part in the pageant. They took turns being introduced to the judges. Following introductions, each lady was called back to the stage to answer a question they randomly selected from a container.
The contestants then took turns speaking of their future plans after high school.
“All the girls did amazing this year,” said Waits.
There were three judges for the pageant.
One of those judges was Rachel Castle. Castle lives in Ohio and was recently crowned the 2020 National Captivating Ambassador Queen. The pageant for the Fayette County Scarecrow Festival was her first official appearance under her new title.
Castle not only has more than two decades worth of experience being involved in pageants, but is also involved in mentoring young women in both figure skating and within her own career field: national defense.
“All of the young ladies were outstanding,” explained Castle. “For many of them, this was their first time vying for a pageant title, and all are to be commended for their courage in getting up on stage and sharing their thoughts and opinions.”
“Participating in these types of competitions really help women to hone their interview and presentation skills, which are invaluable to their future,” she explained. “Congratulations to everyone, and especially to the new queen and her court.”
Another judge was Madeleine Smith. Smith recently won the Miss Southeast Ohio USA pageant. She will be competing for the title of Miss Ohio USA this November in Sharonville, Ohio.
Smith is involved in educating and speaking about mental illness—after being diagnosed with dyslexia and generalized anxiety disorder, Smith began working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Smith previously graduated The Ohio State University Magna cum laude with dual diplomas in anthropology, specializing in archaeology and strategic communications. She plans to pursue a PhD in bio-archaeology (the study of human remains).
The third judge was Liticia Morgan Walker, who has worked locally in healthcare for many years. Walker is the mother of five but keeps busy with various projects to help others, including various fundraisers.
Walker was the 2015 and 2017 Mrs. Highland County and the 2016 Mrs. Southern Ohio.
Walker has a modeling contract through New View Management out of Cincinnati and has advertised for many companies. She plans to further her education to become an RN.
Stop by the Scarecrow Festival this weekend, Friday-Sunday, in downtown Washington Court House to meet the Fayette County Scarecrow Festival’s queen Victoria, first runner-up Lexi and second runner-up Ali.
“I take part in the pageants because it gives me an opportunity to get out in my community and to be a role model for younger girls being raised in our community,” explained Waits. “It’s a good experience. We get to make friends and talk to friends we don’t see every day since we go to different schools.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.