The Wellesley–North Easthope Fall Fair finally caught up with new ambassador Katie Baer. Organizers have invited her to apply in past years but the university student and varsity rugby player never had the time.This year she is happy to report that a fluke in her rugby schedule finally allowed her to join various township hopefuls in the competition, though she never expected to win.
“I hold Wellesley near and dear in my heart and Wendy Richardson has called me every year since I was 17 so I figured it was always something that I wanted to do but I was never able to do it before,” she said of the persistence of the woman how heads the ambassador program.
“I think all of the contestants were good contenders. They all prepared their speeches so well and I was the last one to go so I was so nervous sitting there,” she said after receiving the title on stage Sept. 11.
Clad in an evening gown and her ambassador’s sash, she was swarmed by well wishers who commented on her appearance and the eloquence of her speech, one of many aspects judges were looking at before making their final decision on Tuesday night.
Among those congratulating the 20-year-old winner were Harold Albrecht, MP for Kitchener-Conestoga, and his provincial colleague, MPP Michael Harris, who came down for the event.
“I had a great experience meeting them all. It was a shock. I’m excited for my adventure this year, what I have to look forward to,” Baer said of the contestants and her win.
The competition was not without its challenges for the athletic student and agriculture enthusiast, who said the speech was one of the hardest parts of the competition. Baer also noted that she had trouble with the display board each contestant had to craft for the judging, finding it hard to portray her identity on a piece of plywood.
“Making your board … it’s you on a piece of, well mine is a plywood,” she laughed. “It’s you in one look, so its hard to know what to put on there.”
Baer has always loved fairs, visiting numerous ones every year in New Hamburg, Paris and Wellesley.
“I compete in rugby competitively so the fair always fell at a bad time in the year,” said the Western Mustangs varsity team flanker.
Going into her third year of an undergrad kinesiology program at the University of Western Ontario in London, Baer hopes to eventually combine her university education with her love of rural communities. She used that goal to make a point in the competition.
“In my bio I had said that I wanted to use my formal knowledge of kinesiology and my informal knowledge of living on a farm to combine to help people reach overall wellness,” she explained, excited for the opportunity to share her thoughts with kids during the next stages of her ambassadorial duties.
“I’m looking forward to going around to all the schools … and speaking to the kids about agriculture and getting them involved because I think the Wellesley Fair is a great opportunity for so many people and the more people we have coming out the better.”