In less than a week, 90 beautiful young women, ages 16-21, from all over the state of West Virginia, will take the stage at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center to compete for the coveted title of the 2020 Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs & Festivals Queen.

Beauty pageants may not be for everyone, but for those who choose to compete, they are like second nature, and winning the opportunity to compete at the WVAFF annual convention is a top goal in their pageant career.

WVAFF is an organization representing over 200 fair and festival events and associate members throughout West Virginia. Together they are a vital part of West Virginia’s tourism economy.

This year’s event will take place at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center from Jan. 9-11.

Out of the 90 contestants competing, seven of them are either from Jackson County or hold a Jackson County title.

Those seven beauties include: West Virginia Wild and Wonderful Arts & Crafts Festival Queen Hattie Fisher, West Virginia Chocolate Festival Queen Courtney Winter, Ravenswood Ohio River Festival Queen Megan Stowers, Miss Clay County Golden Delicious Queen Jami Crawford, Jackson County Junior Fair Queen Morgan Pursley, Braxton County Fair Queen Destiny Thomas, and Miss Ripley Fourth of July Queen Kelsey Hill.

Hattie Fisher, West Virginia Wild and Wonderful Arts & Crafts Festival Queen, is the 19-year-old daughter of Ron and Michelle Blankenship of Buffalo. She attends Marshall University where she is majoring in Marketing. Fisher is most looking forward to having the opportunity to represent the Wild and Wonderful Arts & Crafts Festival, while enjoying the convention and pageant with new and old pageant friends.

Courtney Winter, West Virginia Chocolate Festival Queen, is the 18-year-old daughter of Richard and Sheril Winter of Sandyville. She attends Ripley High School where she will be graduating in May. Winter said she is most looking forward to spending time with all the contestants and representing not only her title, but also Jackson County.

Megan Stowers, Ravenswood Ohio River Festival Queen, is the 19-year-old daughter of Marlena and David Stowers of Ripley. She is a 2018 graduate of Ripley High School and currently attends West Virginia University of Parkersburg where she is studying Nursing. Stowers is looking forward to spending the weekend with old pageant friends and also making new ones.

Jamison (Jami) Crawford, Miss Clay County Golden Delicious Queen, is the 19-year-old daughter of David and Tonia Crawford of Kenna. She graduated from Ripley High School in 2018 and now attends Fairmont State University. Crawford is looking forward to spending the weekend with all of the other beautiful contestants, and said she is excited about the new memories they will be making together.

Morgan Pursley, Jackson County Junior Fair Queen, is the 21-year-old daughter of Tracy and Dortha Pursley of Ripley. She is a graduate of Ripley High School and The Art of Beauty Cosmetology School. Pursley is currently employed as a cosmetologist at Head to Toe beauty salon in Ripley. She is excited to meet new people and to enjoy a wonderful event, for one last time, while representing the Jackson County Junior Fair.

Destiny Thomas, Braxton County Fair Queen, is the 18-year-old daughter of Amy Perdue and Chuck Thomas. She is a 2019 graduate of Ravenswood High School and currently attends the University of Charleston where she is on the cheerleading squad. Thomas is looking forward to making memories with new friends.

Kelsey Hill, Miss Ripley Fourth of July Queen, is the 19-year-old daughter of Sonya Hill of Ripely. She graduated from Ripley High School in 2019 and now attends Bridge Valley Community and Technical College. The thing Hill is most looking forward to is connecting with old friends and making new ones.

“With this being my second trip to Fairs and Festivals, I understand the groove of things more,” Hill said. “I am ecstatic to be representing my home town and the Ripley Fourth of July celebration.”

The young ladies will arrive in Charleston on Thursday, Jan. 9, where they will check in and begin a whirlwind of events, from the Queen’s Reception to orientation, rehearsal, personal interviews, promos, and more, all working up to the grand finale on Saturday evening, Jan. 11, the 2020 Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs & Festivals Pageant. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the pageant beginning at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the schedule of events, visit wvfairsandfestivals.org.