WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP, Crawford County — For the second time this week there is no 2019 Crawford County Fair Queen. In fact, now there’s no queen at all.
Haley Hess, the first runner-up who was named queen after Sarah Colgrove lost the title this week because of a rules violation, resigned Friday night.
Hess, 19, of Saegertown, was scheduled to receive the queen title and crown formally at 11 a.m. Saturday at the fair’s West End Stage.
“She came into the (fair) office last night with her mom about 8:30 and didn’t want to be the queen,” Dean Maynard, a Crawford County Fair Board member who heads the queen pageant committee, told the Meadville Tribune Saturday morning.
With Hess quitting, the fair is left without a queen, Maynard said.
The pageant committee had the judges only name a queen and a first runner-up during the Aug. 10 pageant, Maynard said.
The backlash on social media over Colgrove’s loss of the title and the subsequent naming of Hess played a part, Maynard said.
“With the way social media is attacking everybody, I don’t want to subject another girl to the harassment,” Maynard said.
Maynard also gave the Tribune a formal statement by the Crawford County Fair Queen Pageant committee.
“Haley has resigned due to the pressure and ugliness of social media and the need for sensationalism of the printed page,” the statement said. “We are hopeful that the attacks end.”
“We believe that a fair of our size and significance in PA agriculture needs to have a queen and we will work to eventually have a queen again, but it is clear that this year we are not ready as a county,” the statement concluded.
In an interview Thursday with the Tribune, Colgrove said she was told to turn in her crown and sash Tuesday for rules violations.
The 19-year-old from Cochranton said fair officials had been sent a photo of her wearing her sash and crown and holding hands with her boyfriend at the Cochranton Community Fair.
She was also accused of being at the fair unchaperoned, she said. Colgrove acknowledged that she holding hands with her boyfriend at the fair — the two of them became engaged days later — but said her mother was with her as chaperone.
The Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs maintains a seven-point Behavior Policy for Fair Queens. Violations of the rules are grounds for immediate dismissal from the queen position, according to the application pack available on the PSACF website.
Among the rules is a prohibition on “Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, foul language and/or public displays of affection to dates/boyfriends while wearing crown and/or sash and representing the Queen Program.”
“I was devastated,” Colgrove said Thursday as she recalled hearing the news.
Her victory in the contest had come after finishing as runner-up a year ago. Immediately after the second-place finish, Colgrove announced she would be back this year. Not only was she back this year, her poise on stage and enthusiasm for the fair impressed the judges enough to win her the crown.
Hess impressed the judges as well — enough to win the awards for best essay and most photogenic in addition to finishing as first runner-up.
The Crawford County Fair opened Saturday and runs though next Saturday.