Audrey Bloomquist named 2016 Ford County Fair Queen

MELVIN – In between two out-of-state trips, Audrey Bloomquist will be in her home county this summer – for a week, at least.

Bloomquist, 18, of Paxton, was named as the Ford County Fair Queen for 2016, which means she will have the opportunity to be seen at many events in the weeklong fair festivities.

“I'm really excited for everything. I can't even talk,” Bloomquist said. “I'm really excited, and I'm really glad that this is in my schedule for the summer.”

Bloomquist, a 2016 graduate of Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, will attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the fall, majoring in political science.

She was one of 17 PBL students who spent spring break on a community service trip to the impoverished Mississippi Delta.

During the speech competition at Monday’s Ford County Fair Queen Pageant, Bloomquist talked about the perspective that the Mississippi Delta trip provided.

“I learned that doesn't make you rich. It's love that makes you rich because the amount of love that everyone there showed us was incredible,” Bloomquist said. “Everybody was just so open to us. They would let us in. It was like another family.”

Bloomquist will compete in the 2017 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant, which will take place Jan. 19-22 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

Bloomquist was crowned by Amy Loschen of Kempton, who was the 2015 Ford County Fair Queen and who was the runner-up at the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs State Pageant in Springfield last January. It was the first finalist for Ford County since 2002 – Ashley McCullough of Gibson City -- and the first queen to place in the top five since 1980, when Mary Johnson of Paxton got selected as a second runner-up.

Bloomquist is the 56th Ford County Fair Queen, and the fifth one from Paxton over the last six years, after Ellie Moen (2011), Sara Diesburg (2012), Kristen Batte (2013) and Haley Brokate (2015).

Amanda Diesburg, 20, of Paxton, was selected as the first runner-up, Diesburg is a 2014 graduate of PBL, and will be a junior at Illinois State University in the fall, majoring in ag communications and leadership.

Maddie Francis, 19, of Gibson City, was the second runner-up. Francis is a 2015 graduate of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School and currently attends Paul Mitcheel “The School” in Normal.

Karla Rodriguez, 18, of Paxton, was chosen as Miss Congeniality. Rodriguez is a 2016 graduate of PBL High School and will attend Parkland College in the fall, majoring in biological sciences.

Karley Bridgewater (17, of Gibson City), Courtney-Ann Schwing (18, of Paxton), Leslie Lawson (17, of Ludlow), Liz Griffin (18, of Paxton), Emily Komnick (18, of Clarence) and Chelsea Price (17, of Clarence) all competed for the crown as well.

“I knew the competition was really good and I knew everyone was trying super hard, and everyone did so well. None of us knew who was going to win,” Bloomquist said. “I'm just really honored.”

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newstart028 wrote on June 24, 2016 at 1:06 am

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