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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Mindy Burton of Ashton is a member of the 2017 Montgomery County Agricultural Fair Royal Court.
The fair king and queen will be named at a coronation ceremony at 6 p.m. Aug. 13, following the 4-H Parade.
The other members of the court are princesses Annette Bernier of Frederick, Lauren Dallas of Clarksburg, Victoria St. Angelo of Germantown and Caitlyn Gardiner of Damascus; and princes Xavier Al-Faleh of Montgomery Village, Nate Mayhew of Gaithersburg, Eric Charlery of Silver Spring, Anthony Righter if Boyds and Joey Udovich of Rockville.
Selection for the court is based on applications. A resume and essay question are submitted in April, followed by interviews with three community judges. Court members are chosen on their leadership, citizenship and character, as well as 4-H and fair involvement.
Members receive scholarships for college.
Over the summer, court members are required to plan library visits for preschool and elementary-aged children to promote the fair and agriculture.
They hand out ribbons at shows and meet and greet patrons at the fair.
During the year, court members may be called upon to represent the fair at events and parades such as the Damascus Days parade and the Laytonsville parade.
Burton, 16, was a 2016 Montgomery County Agricultural Fair First princess. She is a rising junior in the Science, Math and Computer Science magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring.
This is her 12th year in 4-H and she is president of the Dairy Goat Club and the Laytonsville Seniors 4-H Club. She is the recent vice president of the Lucky Clovers 4-H Club and is a site manager at the 4-H Adventure in Science Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Burton leases dairy goats from the Lyons family in Olney and she is preparing for the state dairy judging contest, where she will compete against members from other counties in correctly placing classes of dairy cow breeds and ages.
Last year, she represented Maryland at the national dairy judging competition in Louisville, Ky.
At this year’s fair, Burton will show her dairy goats and enter her homemade cakes into the cake auction as a fundraiser for 4-H.
The cake auction is the largest fundraiser of the year for Montgomery County 4-H and all first-place cakes are entered and auctioned off for hundreds of dollars. The cake auction will take place on Aug. 13.
Over the years, Burton has raised over $3,500, with her Especially Dark Chocolate Cake raising $1,700 alone to support 4-H programs throughout the county.
She also competes in the Dairy Promotion competition, where the exhibitor and her animal dress up and write a creative script that promotes dairy products and the industry.
Last year, Burton and her goat, Sydney, dressed up as Olympic track athletes who needed milk to make their bones strong to win the race.
During the fair, Burton will be found in the Dairy Goat Barn; the Big Cheese booth, a food booth operated by fair volunteers and known for its grilled cheese sandwiches; or in KidZone, an area for children to learn about agriculture.
Burton said her favorite part of the fair is spreading her passion for agriculture with people of all ages and teaching patrons about dairy animals.
The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair will be held Aug. 11-19 at the county fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. The fair will feature displays of livestock, crafts and homemaking projects, along with food vendors, entertainment, carnival rides and more. For more, visit www.mcagfair.com.
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