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For the first time ever, the Tioga County representative has won the title of Pennsylvania State Fair Queen. Darby Kasper was crowned Jan. 23 at the annual county fair convention in Hershey. The 17-year-old daughter of Bradley and Kathleen Kasper is a junior at North Penn-Mansfield High School and has a dual enrollment at Mansfield University.
While a blizzard waged outside, Darby, the 17 year-old daughter of Bradley and Kathleen Kasper of Roseville, competed against 60 other young women across the state representing their fair and agriculture.
"I was kind of in a little bit of disbelief", said Darby about hearing her number called. "I'm really looking forward to promoting all our fairs in the state."
As state fair queen she will be required to attend all state-sanctioned events including Cornucopia in Harrisburg this February, Ag Progress Days in Rock Spring in August, Farm City Days in Harrisburg this October, and the Pennsylvania Farm Show and the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs convention in January 2017. In addition, any of the 109 county fairs in the state could request an appearance of the queen.
At all of these events she will promote fairs as a showcase for agriculture and tourism, while building greater public understanding and awareness of county fairs' importance to Pennsylvania.
"I think it's important to have county fairs so the general public is aware of the importance of agriculture," she said. "The fair is a great platform to display all the agriculture in the community to the public."
Contestants for the fair queen competition arrived Jan. 21 and were judged on an evening gown introduction, an interview with judges, a speech and a written essay.
Darby is a junior at North Penn-Mansfield High School where she is a member of band, chorus, Future Business Leaders of America and National Honor Society. She also has a duel enrollment, taking courses at Mansfield University.
Outside of school, she is president of the Hare-Raisers 4-H Club, where she raises Californian and dwarf hotot rabbits and has taken veterinary science and cooking projects. She helps with the family's 30-cow dairy farm. Darby is a figure skating coach with the Ice Skating Institute, and practices four days a week. She also volunteers with a therapeuutic horse riding center and horse rescue center, both in Williamsport.
She plans to become a pediatrician and hopes to attend Penn State University on the Main Campus.
By Natalie Kennedy
Full article was published in January 27, 2016 edition of the Wellsboro Gazette