The passage of time amazes me – how quickly it flies, how slowly it crawls. The dreaded 8th grade band camp I was forced to attend for four long days which now seems a lifetime ago. The vivid phone call I got during the 1997 Indiana State Fair saying my sister’s first child had been born, though four more kids have been added to our family since then. Even more unbelievable…my oldest niece wraps up her high school career this spring, 20 YEARS after my own graduation.
Am I old enough to remember 20 years ago??? My word, I am. I’m even old enough to remember 30…(sigh)…ok, almost 34 years ago. It hardly seems possible.
I’ve worked at the Indiana State Fair my entire adult life – the only “big person” job I’ve ever had. My Fair memories of the last 15 years are catalogued by one primary timeline: who was the State Fair Queen.
As the Queen Pageant coordinator, I am responsible for overseeing every detail of the contest, including the Queen’s summer appearances and travels throughout the State. During June and July of her reign, she will visit roughly 35 county fairs, queen pageants and contestant workshops promoting the upcoming Indiana State Fair and our Queen Pageant, traveling over 6,000 miles in eight weeks before spending 17 days at Indiana’s largest multi-day event.
Where once they were my responsibility, many of the girls are now my friends. I’ve seen them graduate from high school and college; find jobs and boyfriends; get married and have children. (Again, I ask, “Am I that old that my little State Fair Queens are having kids of their own?” And once again, the answer is “Yes…yes, you are. Enough already!”)
Next weekend at the annual Indiana Association of Fairs, Festivals and Events convention, Miss Indiana State Fair 2010, Denae Pyle, will make her first official appearance on our behalf. At some point, we’ll take time to go over her summer ahead: what type of appearances she’ll make and what her parents should expect; keeping track of meal receipts and travel mileage; which parts of the State have the best hotels and the worst gas stations; when we’ll shop for her summer wardrobe and what to wear for different appearances…
…which is the same thing I’ve done since 1995 when Gianna was queen. Except I’ll remember 2010 events taking place during the “Denae’s Year”…20 years after my dear friend, Kelly, reigned over the big event…one year before…wait, now I’m really dating myself.
Happy New Year and a blessed 2010 to all!
Submitted by Bobbi Bates; Denae Pyle's portrait courtesy of Bob List Photography.