New Rockton World’s Fair Ambassador Jessica Weaver is looking forward to her year with the sash.
The 18-year-old Guelph native, whose grandparents are longtime Rockton residents, was named the 2017 ambassador Feb. 11 at the Rockton Fairgrounds. Weaver said she’s excited to represent the Fair in the coming year.
“I’ve been going to the fair ever since I was little,” said Weaver, noting she volunteered at the Fair for many years. “ Just being able to represent the Fair means a lot to me because it’s something that I love. I just want people to feel the same way I feel about the fair.”
A psychology student at the University of Western Ontario, Weaver said her first memory of the Fair was her first visit at age 7.
“We went on the old Ferris wheel, back when we had only one instead of two,” she recalled. “I just remember looking over the entire Fair from the top of the Ferris wheel. You can see all through Rockton and even past Rockton – just seeing it in its entirety was amazing.”
The winning candidate, who was sponsored by the Rockton Women’s Institute, took the title in a field two other contestants, Stephanie Houghton and Hope Schneider.
Lois James, the fair ambassador committee chairperson, said the competition was strong. “The girls were very competitive, very close in their skills,” she said. “It would have been very hard to have been a judge.”
Handling the judging duties at this year’s competition were Ancaster Fair general manager Tammy Quinn, Mount Hope dairy farmer Dale Smith and Hamilton Spectator columnist Jeff Mahoney. The competition included individual interviews with the three judges, as well as a speech – this year’s topic was related to agriculture and Canada’s 150th birthday – and an impromptu question and answer session.
“We were looking for the person who can best represent the Rockton Fair,” she said.
James added the ambassador’s reign starts off with a bang, as this weekend Weaver will attend the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) convention in Toronto. In addition, Weaver will be present at the Rockton Dinner Theatre, as well as the Waterdown Santa Claus Parade and Dundas Cactus Festival, among others.
Weaver said she knew what to expect, as her cousin Megan Maceiras was the 2016 ambassador, but admitted the competition was nerve-wracking.
“I’ve been to the competition before, but actually being a part of it is actually a whole different experience,” she said. “I was kind of nervous about the improv questions, as well as the interview. I had practised my speech a lot, so I knew I had that down.”
She said hearing her name called as the new ambassador was exhilarating.
“It actually took a couple of hours for it to sink in that I was fair ambassador,”she said.
Weaver said she’s most looking forward to interacting with fairgoers during Thanksgiving weekend. “I know that I go to a couple different fairs and parades,” she said, “but actually interacting with the people that come to the fair and showing them the fair? I think that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”