With a sunset in the background and the stage lights on her, Courtney Maxwell smiled brightly Thursday night when she was crowned the 2016 Porter County Fair queen.
Maxwell, 19, of Valparaiso, is a student at Purdue University where she is studying agricultural communications.
The first runner-up was Meredith Sands, 19. Shelby Heavlin, 18, won second runner-up and Miss Photogenic. Jeni Tourloukis, 19, of Chesterton, was named Miss Congeniality. Sands and Heavlin are both from Valparaiso.
Haleigh Schoon, the mistress of ceremonies, explained that the young women would be judged on their poise, personality and their ability to converse.
The contestants modeled hobby wear that included Brooke Jabo in tennis gear, Rachel Meeks dressed as a chef, and Sands holding a pie.
After the professional wear portion of the evening, the contestants showed off their evening wear and answered impromptu questions.
When asked about who her role model would be, Maxwell said it would be her grandmother, Jane Maxwell.
“If I have a problem I know I can always talk to her, and she’ll fix it or she’ll try to,” Maxwell said.
This year’s Indiana State Fair queen, Tate Fritchley, spoke to the girls about what their upcoming trip to the State Fair queen contest would be like.
“When you have so many girls from so many different backgrounds, you learn a ton of information,” said Fritchley.
Natalie Girman, 2015 Porter County Fair queen, shared some advice about their upcoming time.
“Leave the fair late, and arrive early” said Girman, “ Even though you’ll be tired this time at the fair flies by.”
In addition to representing Porter County at the Indiana State Fair Queen competition, the Porter County Fair queen wins $525, a crown, a trophy, a banner, flowers and gift certificates.