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Fairest of the Fair returns to county

Clintonville teen takes the crown
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Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Tarah Malotky, of Clintonville, is all smiles as she is crowned the new Fairest of the Fair on Sunday by her predecessor, Taylor Przybylski, during the Shawano County Brunch on the Farm. Przybylski had been crowned in 2016, but the county did not conduct the Fairest contest in 2017 or 2018.

Shawano County once again has a Fairest of the Fair, the first since 2016, after Tarah Malotky was named this year’s winner Sunday during the annual Brunch on the Farm.

Malotky, who resides in the town of Larabee and just recently graduated from Clintonville High School, will be the county fair’s goodwill ambassador for 2019 after outscoring three other contestants for the crown. Taylor Hoffman, of Gresham, was named the first runner-up.

Malotky was crowned by the last Fairest of the Fair, Taylor Przybylski, of Pulaski. After the coronation, Przybylski encouraged Malotky to keep her number handy in case she had questions about her future duties.

“It feels pretty good,” Przybylski said of passing the baton. “I was pretty disappointed that they weren’t doing the (Fairest of the Fair) program the year I was done. It’s really rewarding that they’re bringing it back, and I’m really happy for her (Malotky).”

Malotky was also happy that the Shawano County Fair, put on by the Shawano Area Agricultural Society, was once again planning to have a representative that would serve its interests at the Wisconsin State Fair and other county fairs.

“It was always something that I was interested in growing up,” Malotky said. “I remember the Fairest handing out the ribbons at the fair when I’d win a show, and of course, who doesn’t want to wear a princess crown and walk around?”

She added that the dream had faded a little the last two years when there was no Fairest, but it came roaring back once local media announced the program had risen from the ashes.

“With college coming up, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I’m glad I ran,” said Malotky, who will be continuing her education at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she plans to pursue a degree in early childhood education.

Malotky plans to get the word out about the fair and some of the things people might not be aware of.

“It’s more than just rides and farmers,” Malotky said. “There are so many things you can do. You can take pictures and win prizes. You can make cakes and win prizes. There’s something for everyone — young, old, young at heart.”

She was also excited to see how other counties do their fairs. Malotky had previously been to the fairs for Outagamie and Waupaca counties, but there would be plenty of other fairs on her itinerary between now and the Shawano County Fair during the Labor Day weekend.

This was the first time in recent memory that the coronation took place at the brunch. The competition was also different in that the contestants competed in interviews and other categories the weekend before and had to wait to find out who won.

“Going through the week, I thought I did OK, but everyone else around me did amazing, as well,” Malotky said. “It was a little nerve-wracking, because (the officials) said it was a really close competition, and any one of those other girls would have been amazing, as well.”

Besides Hoffman, Malotky also competed against Ireland DeRoos, of Bowler, and Danielle Mihalski, of Krakow.

The impact of Malotky’s accomplishment hadn’t hit her yet. She said thinking about what she’d potentially be required to do made her a little nervous.

“I was shaking the entire time I was up there,” Malotky said. “All week long, I was losing sleep. I wanted to know so badly.”

Malotky was raised on a dairy farm in the town of Larrabee, being around pigs and horses, as well. Because agriculture has been such an important part of her life, she has no problem stressing its importance to others.

“In this day and age, I think we overlook the importance of agriculture,” Malotky said. “I think it’s important to remember our roots. Everything we do comes from agriculture. People who drink beer, you need agriculture. You want to eat food at night? You need agriculture.”