TAYLOR COUNTY—This week, beauty and grace will take the stage as queens from all over the state compete for the title of the 2020 Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs & Festivals Queen.
Every year, fair and festival queens from throughout the state travel to Charleston in January, for a chance to be crowned Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals Queen.
This year, 90 young women, ages 16-21, will be taking the stage at the convention and pageant at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
The convention will be held January 9-11. During the event, the queens will be participating in many competitions and events, all while representing their crowns and towns.
WVAFF is an organization representing over 200 fair and festival events and associate members throughout West Virginia. Together they are a vital part of West Virginia’s tourism economy.
Here locally, Grafton’s own Spirit of Grafton Queen Tiffani Crouch will be gracing the stage and representing her title.
Crouch voiced that being able to compete at the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals is an honor.
“In April, I was chosen as the 2019 Miss Spirit of Grafton Queen, and I was very excited to be getting to represent Grafton in Charleston in January,” she expressed. “When I competed for the pageant, I didn’t know what all Grafton had to offer. Now, I consider Grafton my second home.”
She shared that while in Grafton for the festival, she felt very welcomed by everyone. Crouch voiced that this year as queen has been amazing.
Crouch was born and raised in Elkview and is a 2018 graduate of Herbert Hoover High School.
In 2016, she started competing in pageants and fell in love with pageantry.
“Throughout the years of competing I have been able to gain a confidence that I never knew I had,” she expressed.
In 2018, Crouch graced the stage at the WVAFF for the first time.
In total, she has competed in approximately 15 pageants within just a few years and shared that she has gained many friendships along the way.
Currently, Crouch is attending West Virginia State University for Accounting and plans on graduating with her bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2022.
When asked what advice she would have for girls thinking about pageantry she shared that girls thinking about competing should be their selves.
“Your size and shape do not matter when it comes to competing,” she voiced. “Pageantry is about your ability to speak and present yourself with confidence.”
Another queen that will be competing is Audra Knotts. She is a Taylor County resident and graduated in 2017 from Grafton High School.
She currently attends West Virginia University, and this will be her third year competing.
This year, she is representing the Nicholas County Potato Festival. The festival is held annually in Summersville, WV in September. This past year was the 50th annual festival.
“I’m so excited to be going back to Charleston to compete at the WVAFF pageant,” she commented.
She expressed that getting into pageantry has made her a more confident person and has helped her grow as a person.
“I truly enjoy the WVAFF convention each January, because it is a reunion of all fairs and festivals across the state,” Knotts expressed. “I always learn so much about the industry, and I enjoy connecting with people representing their fair or festival.”
When asked what advice she would have for girls thinking about pageantry, she shared that girls thinking about competing should go for it.
“Pageants have given me lifelong friends and experiences that I will carry with me forever,” Knotts voiced. “It has helped me develop skills I have used in real life scenarios.”
Crouch and Knotts will arrive in Charleston on Thursday, where they will check in and begin taking part in events, from the Queen’s Reception to orientation, rehearsal, personal interviews, promos and more.
The grand finale will take place on Saturday evening, January 11, where the title of title of the 2020 Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals Queen will be handed to one luck lady.
For more information on the schedule of events, visit wvfairsandfestivals.org.