Washington County Fair Queen Leah Marek is interviewed during the mutton bustin’ event on Thursday evening.

Early mornings and sawdust filled sandals were the beginning of a typical day in the life of 2019 Washington County Fair Queen Leah Marek.

The 17-year-old recently achieved her long-held dream of being crowned fair queen.

“Two of my sisters were fair queens, and it’s just something I’ve always dreamed of,” she said.

Her days during the fair last week began between 6 and 7 a.m.

One of her primary duties as queen was distributing ribbons and trophies to participants of the fair’s livestock shows.

“I get a lot of sawdust in my shoes, but I try to ignore it,” she said.

Midweek, Marek traded her sash and tiara for jeans and a T-shirt as she stepped into the ring to show hogs of her own.

Her work earned her the title of senior showmanship champion at Wednesday’s swine show.

Between events, Marek took the opportunity to grab a strawberry shake before heading to water her pigs.

“That one is definitely the friendliest,” she said, motioning to one of the four gilts.

Marek is a member of the Jackson Jets 4-H Club. Like her older sisters, she primarily shows swine, but she has shown heifers and goats in the past.

When she wasn’t busy in the show ring or tending to her pigs, Marek was attending other fair events, including many of those geared towards younger fairgoers.

One of her favorites was the frog-jumping contest, in which children scoured the fairgrounds for frogs and challenged each other to find the farthest-jumping frog of the bunch.

“There were some really big ones,” Marek said.

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