This Thursday, join the Unionville-Chadds Ford community as they select the Unionville Fair Queen and Princess for 2009.

Pageant co-director Holly Manzone said that in her opinion, the annual pageant is legitimate agricultural pageant and not a beauty contest.

The girls are judged impartially by a community-based panel of judges, and are judged by the content of their essays and how they best represent of their communities on the state level.

"We have to recognize that our fair, and agriculture in general, are just a generation away from disappearing," Manzone said, adding that she first became involved with the pageant last year.

"I was at a meeting about the community fair and it was said it wasn't gong to happen because they didn't have some one to run it," Manzone said. "So I stepped up and said, 'I'll save the queen!'"

The pageant, Manzone said, stands out as a way to generate an appreciation of the state's number one industry as much as it is to show off local agricultural heritage.

"It's big here, but we don't always think about it," Manzone said of agriculture. "But we're trying to get people to take it more seriously."

The pageant is viewed as the unofficial kick-off to the fair, held just before to give the queen and princess the opportunity to participate in the parade and other fair events.

The pageant returns to Unionville Elementary School this year, where it has been held for many years.

The pageant takes place Thursday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m., with superintendent Sharon Parker serving as the emcee.

This year, five girls each are competing for the title of queen and princess.

There are 5 girls competing for Queen (16 to 20 years old):

Competing for Queen are: Dahlia Kenawy, Jeannette Cohen, Kendel Jackson, Natalie Brandmueller and Lindsey Townsend. The 5 girls Competing for Princess (12 to 16 years old) are: Lauren Lang, Ginny Jackson, Carly Rechenberg, Samantha Bowen, and Niki-Camateros-Mann.

All girls submit a 300-word essay about the importance of the Fair and also have a five-minute interview with the panel of judges. Queen contestants give an additional 3three-to-five-minute speech on the evening of the pageant.

The winning queen goes on to represent the state at the Pennsylvania State Fair in January.

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