On Thursday night at the Jefferson County Fair, eight candidates gave their all, vying to become the new Miss Jefferson County, a title claimed by Fairbury Senior Macy Ohlde.
After receiving the crown, Ohlde explained that she was very excited to begin working in the county to help bring people together and to foster new relationships.
“I’m feeling very happy and excited,” said Ohlde. “I can’t wait to get started to help make Jefferson County into the county I think it can be. My main thing for Miss Jefferson County is that I want to bring the older and younger generations together. I feel like nowadays there’s a gap between them, and I want to help fill that gap.”
Ohlde plans to help kids make Christmas cards to send to people in the community and to also have the graduating classes of the high schools walk the halls of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
During the pageant, Kailey Weichel, of Plymouth, earned the first runner-up spot and the title of Miss Congeniality. Michaela Buchli, of Alexandria, earned the second runner-up spot. This year, the contest was judged by Ashlee Fish, Mikaela Betka and Schuylar Craig, who served as Ms. Worldwide United in 2016.
“It would help to make the nursing home residents happy and full of joy,” Ohlde said. “I got these ideas because I volunteer at Gardenside Nursing Home. Just by spending time to visit the residents, I feel like I’ve helped to change their lives. I feel that if I can get more people to visit them, the change will be astronomical.”
Prior to becoming Miss Jefferson County, Ohlde has participated in many community service activities, from volunteering at the nursing home, helping serve food to those in need and even hosting a free pitching clinic to teach kids how to play softball. She hopes to pass on her passion for community service to the next generation.
Megan Freese, who is in her first year of directing the Miss Jefferson County Pageant, explained that she and her board members, Kris Stewart, Morgan Lee and other community members, have worked hard throughout the year to make the pageant a success. This year, there were some changes to the pageant: hosting it at the 4-H Building and having the candidates present essays on community service. She hopes to continue seeing the pageant grow and to have candidates who are active in their community.
“I think the pageant went really well to finish off the first year of having me as a director,” said Freese. “Being down here at the fairgrounds feels so much better because we have a lot more crowd participation, and the girls get a little more confident seeing people clapping for them. We wanted to show the county that these girls are doing things to support their community and getting involved, which is why we had them read their essays. We wanted people to know that they could rely on Miss Jefferson County, no matter who wins, to be an active part of their community.
“Overall, this year went really well,” Freese continued. “We had a lot of support from businesses and from the community, and we are very grateful for that. Miss Jefferson County works with the county to make it a better place and to show that they want to make a difference in their community. That’s why this pageant is important. It’s what small communities are all about. I hope it continues to grow and we get more contestants next year.”
Ohlde shared some advice to the next generation of girls hoping to earn the title of Miss Jefferson County.
“I want to tell them to break out of their comfort zones,” Ohlde said. “This pageant thing is not my forte. I’m a tomboy at heart, but I broke out of my comfort zone and tried something new. It all works out.”
(Photos by Georgann Friedrichsen and Shaun Friedrichsen)