If you walked into the Vernetta Smith Timberland Chehalis Library’s conference room on Friday, you might’ve assumed you stumbled into a meeting of the G7.
Sitting around the fancy wooden table, with all the confidence and poise of future world leaders — just smaller — were the top five Little Miss Friendly contestants.
Dressed nearly to the nines, some with bedazzled cowboy boots and birkenstocks, the five young girls discussed what it would take to represent the much-anticipated Southwest Washington Fair.
The “living logo” has changed every year (save for the pandemic), when local leaders crown one charming and confident 8- to 10-year-old girl to peruse the fair and make appearances at community events throughout the year.
On Friday, the meeting began with coordinator Sue Barlow going over the definition of “logo.”
Then on to the important stuff.
“Do you all know where the royalty trailer will be?” Barlow inquired.
Six days of fair, a parade, a going-away party for current Little Miss Friendly Haiden Bartel, plus tours, teas and coronations means Little Miss Friendly needs to put her game face on.
This year, the five potential Little Miss Friendlies are impressive.
Zoey Zachry, 10, sported a long cast on her arm — light blue to match her floral dress. A swing-related accident led to a badly broken bone, but Zoey didn’t even cry. And she’s not backing down from swings, either. When asked what her favorite part of the fair is, Zoey had a specific ride in mind: the high-flying carnival swings. She hopes to be a singer, dancer and pilot when she grows up.
Aria Hoffman may be the youngest of the bunch at 8 years old, but her charisma and love for pop music has earned her the nickname “Aria Grande” at home. She also wants to be a singer when she gets older, and loves hanging out at the fair with her brother and parents.
Laney McGregor, 10, wants to be a veterinarian for farm animals, like the ones she has at home. Laney can rattle off countless barn animals she oversees, including a donkey due to give birth soon. When asked if she’ll be helping with the delivery, Laney offers a sheepish smile. That may be above her paygrade right now. The farm girl’s favorite part of the fair is the ferris wheel.
MaKayla Maynard wants to be a police officer when she grows up, and can’t wait for the rodeo to start next week at the fair. The 10-year-old enjoys barrel racing herself, and she loves watching the horses weave across the course in the grandstand. She’s looking forward to owning her own horse one day.
Jaylyn Evans is a major thrill seeker, and isn’t afraid of the “scary rides” at the fair. Specifically, she has her eyes on what she calls “The Scrambler.” Jaylyn said she looks up to her cousin, a previous Jubilee Queen, and wants to be a ballet teacher when she’s older.
A new Little Miss Friendly will be crowned on the first day of the fair, Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Saloon Stage. There, Little Miss Friendly 2019 Haiden Bartel — who’s going into 7th grade and still has her eyes set on a career in pediatrics — will pass on the cape, ushering in a new era.
Learn more about the Southwest Washington Fair online at https://southwestwashingtonfairgrounds.org/.
The Aug. 12 edition of The Chronicle will include a special section with stories, photos and a full calendar of events focused on the fair.