Fairest of them all

17-year-old Miranda Godfrey reigns as 2014 Miss Jefferson County Fair

LEETOWN — On Saturday, 2013 Miss Jefferson County Fair Kaitlyn Kave handed her crown to a new queen: 17-year-old Miranda Godfrey.

Godfrey stood out among the 30 other contenders in a sleek, glittering silver-sequined dress. A pageant participant since she was old enough to compete in the Little Miss contest, Godfrey said she was “very excited” about winning.

“It means a lot,” she said. “I’ve been doing this contest for a long time, so I’m just really excited for what this year holds.

“I’m a kid at heart, like a little kid, so I’m excited to do all the contests.” Godfrey said she enjoys “talking to all the girls backstage, getting to meet all the new people that are there this year.”

Young county residents from 13 to 18 were eligible. The pageant was emceed by Tracey Brill, the 1986 pageant winner.

Godfrey, a Washington High senior, is college-bound next year and aspires to join the medical field. She said she always wanted to do something in the medical field, but after her sister was diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer earlier this year, she resolved to focus on cancer treatment.

She isn’t the only recent pageant competitor who’s been touched by cancer. Because of this, Roxanne Stagner, the pageant director, organized the contest’s first-ever Relay for Life team. Starting in September, Godfrey, the other contest winners, past queens and family members will be raising money to fight cancer.

One day after Godfrey accepted her crown for Miss Jefferson, Hailey Owens, a first-grader at South Jefferson Elementary wearing a hot pink sundress and matching cowgirl boots, was crowned 2014 Little Miss Jefferson County Fair by last year’s winner,  Lomasi Capistran.

Later that day, the 2013 Junior Miss Jefferson County Fair, Ayaina Washby, passed her title to 9-year-old Paige Jackson, a fourth-grader at Blue Ridge Elementary. Paige caught the judges’ eyes in a gauzy, bright yellow dress with casual sandals.

For Stagner, seeing the girls build new relationships and have fun is the most important thing. She said she doesn’t tolerate attitude in contestants.

“We don’t allow any bullying or anything like that,” she said. “We make sure that they’re friends and if they’re not friends, they’re friends before they leave.”

She said that winners can be chosen for any number of things, from her smile to her personality. For the younger girls, poise and glamor is less important than just being themselves. For all ages, it’s essential that the winners are responsible enough to do their duties – presenting awards, appearing in parades, community service and more.

“Just having fun and representing Jefferson County is the main thing,” Stagner said. “I hope they take away the fact that there’s more out there. This is their start. They can go out there and accomplish anything.”

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