Long-time friends become Holmes County Fair royalty

Long-time friends become Holmes County Fair royalty
Dave Mast

Holmes County Fair’s newly selected royal court will have no problems getting to know one another as the four members have been close friends for many years through 4-H and FFA. The court includes attendee Alex Pringle, left, King Garrett Fowler, attendee Dakota Ringwalt and Queen Alysa Pringle.


Every year the teens who become Holmes County Fair royalty set sail on an adventure across Ohio as they grow closer together in traveling to visit fairs throughout the state, promoting Holmes County and its fair.

The 2023-24 royalty will have little problem bonding because they’ve been close friends for many years.

On Monday, Aug. 7 on the opening night of the Holmes County Fair at Harvest Ridge, Alysa Pringle was named queen, Garrett Fowler was crowned king, and Dakota Ringwalt and Alex Pringle were named attendants, and the four close friends are now ready to take on the responsibilities that come with representing Holmes County.

Having served on the court last year, Pringle was aging out, so this was her final chance to grab the tiara and sash and capture the queen’s title she has longed to receive. She said she believes having a chance to serve as an attendant last year helped her understand the role of the queen and helped prepare her for this moment.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for so long because it gives me a chance to represent such a wonderful community and it gives me a chance to talk about the place I call home,” Pringle said.

As for serving with her friends, one of whom is her younger brother Alex Pringle, she said that will highlight what is certain to be a hectic but highly enjoyable coming year of serving the Holmes County Fair.

She said she learned a great deal from outgoing Queen Sarah Irwin, as well as gleaned some practical ideas from past queens who gave her advice.

She said serving on the junior fair board also helped prepare all four of them for the leadership roles and speaking engagements that will soon follow.

“I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned from the junior fair board, from FFA and from 4-H is how to be a good person,” Pringle said, “how to be a good member of a team and how to help people whenever I can.”

Fowler said he is excited to carry on his family legacy when it comes to fair royalty. His grandma Lois Fowler served as fair queen in 1958, aunts Wendy Macauley and Jenny Burgett were both queens, and his cousins Bryce and Brandt Burgett both served as fair kings.

“I definitely have a family legacy,” Fowler said. “We have a long tradition of fair royalty in the family, so it’s definitely something I’m very proud of and I’ve looked forward to.”

He said getting a chance to explore all of the state fairs and meet people will be a highly anticipated part of this journey, and doing so with his longtime friends makes it even more gratifying.

For the entire court, the Holmes County Fair just got a whole lot more hectic, as they will assume many new duties in addition to showing their fair animals and serving as members of the junior fair board.

“We’ll just adjust and get it done,” Fowler said.

Ringwalt said she was excited to get to travel together with her friends.

“All four of us are really good friends, and we’ve gone through FFA together, so it will be nice to get to spend a little extra time with them,” Ringwalt said.

That time will be extra-precious for Ringwalt, who will head to the University of Kentucky this fall to study agricultural economics. She said she will make time on weekends to connect with the court and represent her county and fair.

“Being so close, that makes this moment even more special,” Ringwalt said. “I feel like it’s only going to make us even closer as friends.”

Alex Pringle anticipates having a good time traveling. Pringle said he got a chance to see exactly what traveling the state entails by going with his sister during her time as part of last year’s court.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment, where I could actually go around and represent our fair and our county on an official basis,” said Pringle, who will be a junior at West Holmes this year. “It feels good to finally have the sash and not just be the kid in the background following along.”

Pringle said he learned a great deal from watching his sister and the previous court represent the county and said 4-H and FFA have helped him get to the point where he has gone from a quiet kid to a social butterfly.

“I can go talk to anyone now,” Pringle said. “I think that’s the case for all four of us, and I’m thrilled to be able to share time with them as we travel around Ohio.”

The other two queen candidates were Madison Scheetz and Keira Howard, and Holmes County commissioner Dave Hall served as one of the selection committee members who had the difficult task of ironing out the winners.

“Through the years we watch these young people grow and develop leadership skills, and it was an incredible group of kids who made the decision extremely tough for us,” Hall said. “Every time we started talking about one of the kids, we all agreed that they would make great representatives for the fair and for our county. It’s just a quality group, and we as a county can be proud of all of them because they show us what the fabric of our county is and that the future is in great hands.”

He said each of the contestants reiterated one common theme when they were interviewed individually. Hall said each contestant said they wanted to give back to the community that has given them so much support over the years.

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