Aug. 8 2022 08:00 AM

To me, being Fairest of the Fair is an excellent chance to advocate for agriculture.

I was crowned Polk County Fairest of the Fair on the last day of the fair.
A couple weekends ago, it was my favorite time of the year – the Polk County Fair! I was an exhibitor at this fair for 12 exciting years as a member of the Forest View 4-H Club. I tried many projects including leatherwork, photography, jewelry making, and even an entomology board, but my true passion was for my years as a livestock exhibitor. Seven of my years as a 4-H member were spent showing dairy cattle and horses, and I rounded out my experience with the swine project for my last year. I am sure many past or current 4-H members out there can relate to my experiences.

When I lost my last year of show eligibility to the Covid-19 pandemic, I knew I wanted to stay as involved as possible in this community and with the fair. This is why I recently ran for and was crowned as the Polk County Fairest of the Fair.

This means that for the 2022-2023 year, I will be representing my county and the fair as I travel to different events including town fairs, parades, and classroom visits. I will be telling everyone about the amazing features and events of the fair and why they should attend. It will be easy to wholeheartedly say how it’s a time for making memories and genuinely having a blast.

To reach this position I first attended a judging day on the fairgrounds where we started with a group discussion about our ideas for the county fair and how to improve it. We then moved into individual interviews, and followed that with a formal introduction of ourselves to the county fair board members that attended the lunch. We rounded out the judging day by delivering our 30-second radio advertisements about the Polk County fair we had prepared. It was such a fun day to get to know the other ladies I would be on the court with and the past Fairest of the Fair court!

My Fairest of the Fair Attendant, Katrina Harvey and the Junior Fairest of the Fair, Callie Johnson, and I attended the ending of the dairy showmanship show after coronation.
Once I finish my term representing my county next summer, I will be running for the title of Wisconsin State Fairest of the Fairs. This role has represented the Wisconsin State Fair along with all the county and district fairs throughout state for 56 years. Throughout the process of running for Polk County and Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair, I have the opportunity to practice interviewing, publicly speaking, and connecting with others.

I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity because it is so much more than dresses, sashes, and crowns. I will be able to practice my professionalism and advocate for my county’s agricultural community alongside the fair and share how I am proud to have knowledge of Polk county’s agricultural history. Despite having a wide variety of producers in my home county, I know there are still plenty of consumers who have not been as fortunate as I have been to develop a direct connection to the world of agriculture.

I will spend my year telling the story of how businesses, volunteers, farmers, board members, 4-H members, and more come together each year to provide such a fun event with great learning opportunities.

Mikayla Peper

Mikayla grew up near Osceola, Wis. She discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working on her neighbors’ Holstein dairy farm. That spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and following graduation from Osceola High School, she headed to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During the school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota department of animal science, and last summer, she was a farmer relations intern for Midwest Dairy. Peper is serving as the 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern.