Garren Walker was crowned the 2021 Fayette County Fair Queen on Sunday during the opening ceremony of the 142nd Fayette County Fair.
The Fayette County Fair began with the annual opening ceremony at the grandstand, where members of the Junior Fair Board were celebrated and the Fair Queen was crowned. This year, the four vying for the position were Walker, Abigail Mick, Katrina Koski and Taylor Moore.
Walker, a recent graduate of Washington High School, is the daughter of Gina (Brandon) Marine and Shawn (Leigh) Walker and is the sister to four siblings. She is a seven-year member of Fayette County 4-H and has been a 4-H camp counselor for four years.
As previously reported, she currently serves as a junior fair board member, representing the swine department. Walker has held various officer positions within her 4-H clubs over the years. She is a five-year inductee into the Academy of Scholars, an honor roll student, and she attended college as a high school student through the college credit plus program.
Walker is a four-year high school marching and concert/symphonic band member and has participated in high school sports, including swim, cross country and basketball. She attends Southside Church of Christ and The Gathering Place. She will be attending Sinclair College in Dayton in the fall to become a dental hygienist.
“Thank you to everybody, especially the judges who gave us a shot to interview and run for this great position,” Walker said following the announcement that she would be fair queen. “Shout outs to all of the other girls who ran, I look forward to working with all of you this week. Shout-out to Faith (Cottrill-Marine) for organizing this and a special thank you to my entire family who has pushed me to be the person I am today and without you guys I wouldn’t be able to do it. A special shout-out to my mom in particular for making my 4-H dreams come true.”
Also during the ceremony, Senior Fair Board Vice President Doug Marine took to the podium to thank everyone for attending and to give out the annual Jim and Eddie Kirk Fair Supporter Award. This award is given to those community members who have continued to make the fair what it is and provide its participants with the best time possible. This year the award was presented to the Balahtsis family — owners of Jack’s Inc.
“Over many years the harness racing Fayette County Classic has grown to be a well known event in the harness racing industry,” Marine said. “Our recipient today was key in helping us build the program. The Fayette County Agricultural Society would like to recognize the Balahtsis family for their many years of support and helping the Fayette County Fairgrounds as well as the community.”
Marine recounted the story of Jack Balahtsis — a Greek immigrant — who came to the United States to pursue life in America. Through his work in the harness racing industry, Balahtsis was able to make a company for himself in 1971 that continues to this day and is celebrating 50 years of business. Balahtsis retired in 2012 and ever since his children, Steve Balahtsis and Dede Dean, continue to run the business. Currently, even the next generation is working for the family business as Dean’s and Steve’s children are now involved in daily operations.
“My father is sorry he couldn’t be here as he is feeling under the weather right now,” Steve said during the opening ceremony. “We have been in this county for 50 years and it has been a great place to grow up and to raise a family and the family business. Thank you all very much for the support.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.