Sponsors for the 25 Washington Town and Country Fair queen candidates were randomly drawn at the Chamber of Commerce banquet Saturday night, March 29.

Area businesses and professionals submit their names to serve as sponsors.

The queen contest, always held opening night of the Fair, will take place Wednesday, Aug. 6, on the Main Stage.

Libby Marquart, 2013 Fair Queen, and Becky Stieffermann, queen committee chair, helped draw the names.

The Fair queen sponsors are as follows:

Bank of Franklin County, Mercy, Hawthorne Inn, Heritage Community Bank, The Competitive Edge;

Jim Brinker Recycling, Hodges Badge Co., Innovative Machine and Tool, Bank of Washington, Lighthouse Dental;

Schnucks, Papa Murphy’s, LPL Financial-Eric Park and George Meyer, Montelle Winery, Augusta Winery; Law Office of Mark Rudder, KJ Unnerstall Construction, Williams Brothers, Mentz Foundations, Home Front Fitness;

Colton’s Steakhouse, Halcyon Spa, Old Dutch, WM Restaurant-Taco Bell and Willming Excavating.

Contest Changes

At the banquet, Stieffermann announced some changes with this year’s contest. “A Day of Beauty,” one of several activities held for the contestants prior to coronation, is being replaced with a Professional Development Day.

“It will actually be a two-day program. For the first segment, we will bring in different speakers in to talk to the girls about proper business etiquette and attire, as well as social media do’s and don’t’s,” she said.

“During the second segment, we will have HR professionals come in to conduct mock interviews with the candidates,” she said. “We just feel these are skills that can really benefit the girls, both with the contest and as they continue on in school and later in their careers.”

As in the past, a panel of judges will interview each contestant the day of the contest.

Stieffermann said the changes actually grew out of suggestions received from last year’s judges.

“We’re excited about the changes and think the contestants will be too,” she added.

The queen candidates will continue to participate in the annual Contestant/Sponsor Barbecue, “A Day in Washington,” where they tour the city, and the Fair run/walk and Fair parade.

Another change will be with the contest itself. The contestants will no longer be performing a song on stage.

“Instead, we will have a professional singer perform during the contest, while the girls do an additional fun walk across the stage,” Stieffermann said. “Again, we just felt it was time to change it up a bit.

Applications are currently being accepted by the Chamber for this year’s contest. Stieffermann said already about 15 have been received.

Scholarships will again be awarded to the queen and her court.