Former fair queens share memories from their reigns

REPRESENTING the 62nd Gillespie COunty Fair in 1950 were Queen Betty Stroeher and Duchesses Evelyn Danz, left, and Annabelle Loth.

It’s just about every little girl’s dream to be a princess and wear a shiny crown.

And in Gillespie County 64 young women have done just that by being crowned Gillespie County Fair Queen.

The first queen — Julie Kordzik  — was crowned in 1949 for the 61st Fair and last year, Camry Weinheimer was selected as the 125th Fair Queen for 2013.

Through the years, the Fair Queen and her court have represented the Gillespie County Fair at parades and other functions throughout the area.

As part of this weekend’s celebration of the 125th Gillespie County Fair, former queens and duchesses have been invited to ride in the Fair Parade on Friday morning, Aug. 23.

They will also be honored at a reception on Friday night.

Because the fair association is honoring past courts, a few of the former queens took time to answer the following questions:

1. What did it mean to you to serve as Gillespie County Fair Queen?

2. What is your fondest memory?

3. What would you say to encourage girls to try out for the crown? Any advice for the contestants?

4. Has anyone else in your family been on the Gillespie County Fair Queen’s Court? Does that hold a special meaning for you?


Betty Stroeher Olfers: 62nd Fair — 1950

Duchesses: Annabelle Loth Kuhlmann and Evelyn Danz Schaetter.

•The first number of years the Fair Queen was chosen by a committee composed of fair directors with the help of the school superintendent and senior teachers.

I remember Mr. Alex Frantzen coming to school to tell me I had been chosen to be the 1950 Gillespie County Fair Queen and the details that would be involved. I remember being surprised, and thrilled beyond words.

•I remember going to the Fiesta Flambeau and all the fair parades in the surrounding towns. At that time, the fair association had a circuit that exchanged floats. Among some of the towns we went to were Bandera, Brady, Blanco, Boerne, Menard and San Antonio.

The float was designed by a professional firm, supervised by Bill Petmecky and built locally by fair directors. We had a great group of people riding the float as well as fair directors and our families that always went with us on the trips.

My favorite parade of course was the Fiesta Flambeau in April 1950. Our float won first prize in the out-of-town division. It was our first parade of the season.

Back in 1950, a trip to San Antonio was special in itself, but riding in a huge parade, with a huge crowd and spending a weekend in San Antonio was a real thrill for a small home-town girl.

Our float was truly beautiful. It had a lighted moving carousel in the center with life-like animals in the front. Henry Kuenemann drove the float and the fair directors were so happy because all lights and moving parts worked for the entire parade route. It was a perfect evening.

My mother sewed my long gown and a very long train. The train had to be stapled down at each trip along with parts of the dress. There was no moving around once my dress was stapled in place.

At the end of the Fiesta Flambeau Parade, close to midnight, our drivers pulled over onto a dark side street to dismantle the float. The other fair directors on the float committee were to come pick up the people on the float. We waited and waited. They finally came. They couldn’t find us. This was before the days of cell phones. I don’t remember that we ever felt afraid out there in no man’s land. We simply waited until they finally found us.

•I encourage girls to try out for the Fair Queen contest because it is a great experience. Take advantage of the opportunity when it comes along. Go for it, enjoy it and enjoy the moment!

Many have regretted later not taking advantage of it when the opportunity presented itself.

•Our daughter, Cindy, was chosen Fair Queen in 1974. We encouraged her to try out and she was also shocked but thrilled to be chosen.

We had a fun year going to all the visiting parades with the float and fair personnel.

That will always be a special memory for us.


Cindy Olfers Clegg: 86th Fair — 1974

Duchesses: Bernadine Fritz Dittmar and Linda Beyer Welch.

•It was an honor and privilege to serve as Fair queen. I love this community and its long held traditions. The fair was a much-anticipated event in our family — almost like a holiday.

My dad was a long-time fair director and my mom was a past Fair Queen. Being chosen Fair Queen was very special.

The fair is a fun and exciting event for young and old, and I congratulate the Gillespie County Fair and Festivals Association on the 125th Fair.

•It was so much fun going to the surrounding fairs and festivals. I have always loved parades and still do!

•Be yourself and smile a lot. Keep in mind how fortunate we are to live in such a wonderful community and how important it is to carry on our long-time traditions.

•My mother was also Fair Queen. It was very special to follow in her footsteps as she is the most beautiful person I know, inside and out.


Nina Nixon-Mendez: 88th Fair — 1976


For more of this story, see the special Gillespie County Fair section in this week's Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. If you are a print subscriber, your full online subscription is free. All you need to do is call 830-997-2155 to get a password. If you are not a subscriber, call 997-2155 or click on the ‘Subscribe’ button on the left side of the home page and sign up today!


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