Amanda Lebold was crowned as the 2018 ambassador at the 165th Wellesley North Easthope Fall Fair on Tuesday night. She will be taking over the position of 2017-2018 winner Katie Kniesel, who says she’s confident that the newly minted winner will have nothing but positive things to say about the ambassadorship.
“My time as an ambassador has been an experience that I can’t seem to find any words for,” said Kniesel, who got emotional during her speech, moved by the experience. “It was just simply indescribable. This year was filled with so many friendships, memories, and learning opportunities and this is something I will cherish forever.”
The 17-year-old Lebold’s’ inspiration to participate in the fair ambassador event was from Kniesel, who recommended she try out. Her goal in participating is to develop her public speaking and communication skills through being an ambassador. She hopes to attend the Conestoga College business program next year after completing high school.
Growing up on a dairy farm, Lebold also wanted to share her passion for agriculture within the community.
“Family isn’t necessarily about whose blood you have, or who you’re forced to spend the holidays with,” said Lebold in her speech. “Our community right here in the Wellesley Township is an example of a family. To begin, our community resembles a family by giving love and support to one another.”
The process of crowning the winner involved a display board – what the organizers call a “me” board – that represents the contestant. A 10-15 minute interview follows this, and then an impromptu question where the participants need to be quick on their feet.
Duties of an ambassador include representing the township of Wellesley at various conventions, including the Canadian National Exhibition Ambassador of Fairs in Toronto. It is also an opportunity to immerse oneself more deeply into the community. For example, Kniesel is a member of the Wellesley Fall Fair committee.
“Becoming ambassador allowed me to open my eyes and realize how much effort it takes to put into a fall fair,” said Kniesel. “Getting to travel and see other fairs really made me love our own little fair. Even though the Wellesley fair is small, to bring all the deep roots and new roots of this community together as one in just two days is quite a task.”
Julia Carol-Ann Pilecki was another contestant. After living in Kitchener for two years, Pilecki realized her sincere appreciation for living in a small town. She hopes to apply for the Equine Farrier program at Ridgetown College after completing high school and is very interested in agriculture.
Maddi Da Rosa was the third contestant, her second year competing for the title. Da Rosa loved the experience last year, so she decided to try again. She is bilingual, an honour roll student, a dance teacher, and has performed with Theatre Wellesley and Kitchener-Waterloo Musical Productions.
According to organizer Wendy Richardson, all three contestants brought their own set of unique qualifications to the table.
“One is running for her second time, so you would think maybe she would have an edge,” said Richardson, in an interview before the competition. “But one is very involved in the fair, and one is very involved in agriculture. So it’s tough for us to figure out who’s going to win.”
The event drew in many former fair ambassadors, including 2002 winner Terri Dietrich and 2015/2016’s winner, Sally Draper.