June 27, 2022

Lauren Zaabel takes home crown, Morgan Hansen named fair princess

Meet the 2022 Jasper County Fair Queen

From left: Morgan Hansen is crowned the Jasper County Fair Princess and Lauren Zaabel is crowned the Jasper County Fair Queen during a June 18 pageant at the Newton Community Theatre.

Lauren Zaabel has been crowned the 2022 Jasper County Fair Queen.

Two candidates competed in the Jasper County Fair Queen Pageant on June 18 at the Newton Community Theatre. Zaabel competed for the crown alongside Morgan Hansen, who was inevitably crowned the Jasper County Fair Princess. The two will be integral to the everyday activities at the Jasper County Fair.

Zaabel, of Kellogg, lives on a farm of 400 acres with cattle, chickens, ducks, honeybees and dogs. For Zaabel, becoming the Jasper County Fair Queen has been a goal of her’s for many years. At 18 years old, she felt it was time to compete. She will go on to compete with other queens at the Iowa State Fair.

Although Zaabel wished there were more girls competing in the pageant, she cherished her time getting to know Hansen a lot more. Hours before the pageant the two bonded by goofing around with the theater’s costumes. Zaabel is glad she will be able to work the county fair with Hansen.

Zaabel’s favorite part of the county fair is all the different opportunities it has to offer, from the rodeo to the livestock shows and the parade.

“There’s something for everybody to do,” Zaabel said. “And I am so glad I get to be a part of everything. (I’m looking forward to) getting to know so many more people than I do. Because I would say, personally, I know a fair amount of people at the fair, but I’ll have more people that will come up and be willing to talk.”

With only two contestants for judges to choose from, Zaabel and Hansen were in the unique position of knowing that they were both walking away with a crown. Heather Cupples, queen coordinator and superintendent of the Jasper County Fairgrounds, suggested the fair queen is more than a crown and title.

“They hand out ribbons at all the livestock events and even some of the open class stuff that are there, like the pedal pull or the Oreo stacking,” Cupples said. “They even get involved in some of the games and stuff that are there, like dodgeball … a lot of those activities.”

Both Zaabel and Hansen will be seen at many events throughout the fair, Cupples added, or they will just talk to random folks or take pictures with kids. Little girls especially love getting their pictures taken with the fair queen. Cupples said the queen and princess act as role models for the younger fair patrons.

Of course, most fair queens and princesses are already familiar with the Jasper County Fair, which is held July 15-21 this year at the fairgrounds in Colfax.

“Most of them have either been in 4-H or FFA or something throughout the communities, or they’ve come from that agriculture background,” Cupples said, noting both this year’s queen and princess have worked with cattle on their farms. “It’s very nice to have that background on both of those girls.”

Prior to the crowning ceremony, 2021 Jasper County Fair Queen Kelcie Steenhoek thanked everyone for supporting Zaabel and Hansen. It takes a lot of work to get to this moment, Steenhoek said.

“And you should really be proud of them.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 6560 or at cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.