The 2015 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, who was selected January 7, at the 92nd annual Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention in Wisconsin Dells. A field of 39 talented contestants from county and district fairs throughout Wisconsin participated in the competition, and Deanna Schlies, 25, representing the Brown County Fair, took home the coveted Fairest of the Fairs crown.
The Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs program was designed to select a spokesperson and ambassador for the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, which represents all 76 Wisconsin county, district and state fairs. Each year the winner travels throughout the state promoting the variety of educational, agricultural, social, cultural and commercial opportunities available at Wisconsin’s great fairs. It is a position of responsibility to the citizens of Wisconsin and the winner must showcase excellent speaking, writing and listening skills as well as organization, time management and above all a passion for Wisconsin’s fair industry.
Schlies will serve a one-year term beginning immediately, and her responsibilities will include making appearances at fairs throughout the state, working with media and promoting the educational, social and economic importance of Wisconsin’s fair and agriculture industries.
In addition, she will serve as an ambassador of the 2015 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, which will take place Aug. 6-16. This includes greeting fairgoers and special guests, performing as master of ceremonies for several events during the Fair, participating in various contests and representing the Fair during select media appearances.
Schlies was selected from a field of incredibly talented young women, and replaces the 2014 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, Kaitlyn Riley of Crawford County. The Fairest of the Fairs is chosen by a panel of three judges representing the fair, communications and agriculture industries. This year’s judges were Chris Williams, Bob Meyer and Judy Johnson.
The daughter of David and Sharon Schlies of Denmark, Wis., Schlies works as a science teacher at LB Clarke Middle School in Two Rivers, Wis. She also teaches a course on communications and job interview skills, is the Student Council advisor for grades 7 and 8 and runs several after school programs. She has volunteered at both the senior center and early childcare center in her community, serves as the direct of music for the Denmark High School musical and is an active member of her church choir. Schlies has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She is also a Farm Bureau member in Brown County.
Robyn Wittkopf, 19, representing the Waukesha County Fair, was named first runner-up and also received the Miss Congeniality award, which is voted on by the contestants. She is the daughter of John and Wynn Wittkopf of Pewaukee, Wis. and is a sophomore at the University of Dubuque, where she is studying to be a nurse.
Emily Schaal, 22, representing the Racine County Fair, was named second runner-up. She is the daughter of Mike and Kathy Schaal of Kansasville, Wis. and attends the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Ashley Bergsbaken, 18, representing the Shawano County Fair, was named third runner-up. She is the daughter of Dennis and Donna Bergsbaken of Bonduel, Wis. and is a freshman the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse studying communications.
Alexis Dunnum, 20, representing the Vernon County Fair, was named fourth runner-up. She is the daughter of Craig and Victoria Dunnum of Westby, Wis. and is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Life Sciences Communication and Scandinavian Studies.