Allen crowned queen
Poised and confident, Kierstyn Allen had a long-time dream come true when she was named the 2018 Miss Edgar County Fair.
“Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being Miss Edgar County,” said Allen.
She added the dream has remained with her since participating as a child in the Little Miss contest.
“I think that’s what started it,” she said. “I got to be on stage and watch the bigger girls.”
After that, she attended the annual queen pageants to learn from the competition in preparation for her turn back on the stage. She won the 2014 Honeybee Festival Queen title but delayed entering the fair pageant for a few years.
Allen graduated Paris High School in 2016 and continued postponing the fair.
“I wanted to wait until I was mature enough, and I decided this was the time,” Allen said. “Growing up, I was on the shy side. As I went through high school and college, I gained so much confidence in myself, and I wanted to express who I am.”
According to Allen, competing in a pageant is an excellent way for
young women to gain self-confidence. It is also an opportunity to make new friends.
Committing to the Edgar County Fair pageant is not a whim. It takes dedication and preparation.
Allen said there are the required pageant rehearsals, but on her own she practiced interviewing with members of the community to sharpen her communication skills. She also practiced walking in heels at home.
The pageant itself presented some challenges, particularly performance butterflies after seeing the audience.
“We had a new stage this year with a rougher wood floor. That made it harder to turn,” Allen said. “Of course it rained all day, so everything was soaking wet and muddy.”
Her speech about her grandfather was another challenge.
“He meant a lot to me and saying it without getting emotional was very difficult,” she said.
Allen was so focused on doing her best she had no sense of how the scoring was going until her name was called as the winner.
The queen’s yearlong reign is barely under way but Allen knows what she wants to do with the opportunity.
“I want to represent Edgar County the best way possible,” she said. “It is important to promote agriculture and volunteerism in the community.”
Her next pageant opportunity is January when she represents Edgar County in the Miss Illinois County Fair competition. She doubts she will pursue any other pageant titles and concentrate on finishing her nursing degree at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where she is a junior.
Nursing fulfills another childhood ambition of wanting to help people.
“Once I found nursing, I knew it was something I would be great at,” said Allen.
Until then there are trophies to hand out, other fair pageants to attend as Edgar County’s representative, parades to be in and local events where her presence is desired.