SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke joined Heather Miller, the 2006 Miss McLean County and Miss Illinois County Fair, in crowning Ashley Willner, Miss Lake County, the 2007 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Sunday evening.
Ashley is the daughter of John and Julie Willner of Lake Villa. She is currently pursuing degrees in Finance and Entrepreneurship at DePaul University in Chicago. The Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant was held Sunday at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield as part of the annual convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs (IAAF).
“The young ladies who participated in this year’s pageant are bright, talented individuals who have represented their counties well during this competition,” Director Hartke said. “I want to congratulate Ashley on being crowned the 2007 queen, and I look forward to working with her this year to promote Illinois agriculture.”
As County Fair Queen, Ashley will reign over the 2007 Illinois State Fair, Aug. 10-19, 2007 and DuQuoin State Fair, Aug. 25-Sept. 3, 2007.
“This will be a new and exciting journey for me. I’m looking forward to learning more about the state of Illinois and communicating with the public about the value of agriculture in the state,” Willner said.
The judges selected Miss Iroquois County Fair, Brenna Crist of Milford, as first runner-up. Miss Henry County Fair, Kala Causemaker of Atkinson, was named second runner-up. The remaining nine finalists included: Miss Mason County, Jenny Dolaz of Manito; Miss Effingham County, Danielle Phillips of Altamont; Miss Morgan County, Sherie Kording of Jacksonville; Miss Sangamon County, Allison Hinman of New Berlin; Miss Union County, Sarah Panici of Dongola; Miss Mercer County, Rebekah Clark of Aledo; Miss Madison County, Mindy Hoffman of Highland; Miss Williamson County, Keina Draper of Marion; and Miss Macoupin County, Jamie Brockmeier of Carlinville.
Non-finalist competition awards were presented to Miss Warren County Fair, M’Lyn Corzatt of Berwick, for best interview; Miss Champaign County Fair, Karly Crapse of Rantoul, for best communication skills; Miss Moultrie-Douglas County Fair, Danielle Ketchmark of Sullivan, for best stage presence; and Miss Okawville County Fair, Nicole Ostendorf of Okawville, for beauty and physique. The Ruby Crum Memorial Award for charm and enthusiasm was presented to Miss Gallatin County Fair, Taylor Gordon of Shawneetown.
A total of 67 contestants participated in the event. This year marked the 48th year of the IAAF pageant.