The dream that came true for Hannah Cole on Monday night is the kind that builds inside someone for years.
Cole stood on stage during opening ceremonies of the 2013 Madison County Fair and visibly froze up when, just seconds before her name was called, an excerpt from her essay read on stage gave her the briefest moment to try to process it all before the rollercoaster ride began.
That excerpt spoke of how it had been her dream to be crowned Madison County Fair Queen. She likely dreamt that dream many times as she stood next to queens of years past for photos, on stage, or in any of the other capacities in which fair queens serve.
But now, that stage is set for Hannah Cole, your 2013 Madison County Fair Queen, and more than anything else, Cole hopes to be that shining example for the youth of Madison County that she herself saw so many times in the years leading up to her reign.
“When they read that little quote, I was speechless,” Cole said. “It’s an amazing honor to me. I just want to be able to represent the Fair the best I can and be a role model to all the younger girls. It’s like a dream.”
Opening ceremonies for the 2013 Madison County Fair featured three queens on the evening. Departing fair queen Adrianna Culbreth introduced the program and thanked everyone involved in the Fair for the opportunities it provided her and all the other participants.
She spoke of the work that goes into the Fair that she had been unaware of in past years, and the importance of being a role model to the younger girls who participate.
The biggest impact that serving as fair queen had on her, though, has been in gaining an understanding of the importance of agriculture in today’s society.
“Agriculture is the basis of everything,” Culbreth said. “We have an obligation to our county, our country and ourselves to support the future of agriculture. To have the opportunity to promote it in a positive manner really meant something to me because of the impact it has.”
Candace Neal, the 2003 Madison County Fair Queen, also visited on Monday night and shared her experiences as both a participant and queen.
“I developed skills like taking constructive criticism,” Neal said. “(Being Fair Queen) doesn’t mean you’re just another pretty face with a crown on your head. You represent our community.”
That aspect of serving as fair queen is one that Cole is looking forward to fulfilling. She got to it quite early Monday evening as she stopped for photos and interviews following her coronation. She was quickly swept away to pose for pictures with grand and reserve champions of the family and consumer science auction. Leadership and representing her community, however, are not new to Cole.
A junior at Madisonville High School, Hannah is a member of the National Honor Society and student council. She serves as vice president of both the Beta Club and Madisonville FFA, and is a leader at the annual 4-H Camp.
Leadership has taught her a lot of lessons, as have her experiences over the years at the County Fair. She thanked everyone involved in the fair for making her experiences possible, as well as her sponsor, Brazos Valley Livestock Auction.
“Never give up,” Cole said. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from my years at the Fair. You have good years and you have bad years, but you can’t stop trying. I just want to be able to be an example, be a good role model and be an example of good character. It’s been a learning experience and a family experience for me. Family means everything to me, and that’s what the Fair I think is really about.”
This year, however, was a good one. Cole had the kind of day that would make just about anyone jealous on Monday, as winning fair queen was actually her fourth victory of the day. Cole took home showmanship as well as grand champion in both broilers and the crafts portion of the Family and Consumer Science show.
Culbreth, the departing queen, said she thinks Cole is just about perfect for the job.
“I got to know Hannah last year and she has grown so much,” Culbreth said. “She has an amazing personality. I know she will do an amazing job because she has the passion and she has the knowledge.”