Hannah Cunningham is Miss Putnam County Fair 2017
If it wasn’t immediately clear to Hannah Cunningham that she had joined a special sorority Saturday night, she was getting a lesson within minutes of her crowning as Miss Putnam County Fair 2017.
During a picture with the last three fair queens — Brittany Birt (2014), Kristen Stevens (2015) and Lauren Johnston (2016) — it was discovered that Cunningham’s tiara was not properly secured in her hair.
That just wouldn’t do for Birt, Stevens and Johnston, who immediately went to work on Cunningham, even escorting her back to her throne and working until the bobby pins, hair and crown were arranged correctly so that the newest member of their club could look sufficiently … well … queenly.
It was a special moment, one not likely lost on a woman who has spent years looking up to the fair queen, whoever it was at the time.
“I’ve always dreamed about this since I was little because I’ve always done 4-H and always looked up to the queen then,” Cunningham said. “So I’m super excited. I’ve been looking forward to this and practicing so hard for it.”
Cunningham, the 18-year-old daughter of Jay and Sondra Cunningham of Greencastle, is joined in her court by Miss Congeniality and First Runner-Up Kaelynn Abner, Second Runner-Up Bronwyn Spencer and Third Runner-Up Michayla Sanders.
The crowning of the queen is, of course, the grand finale of the pageant, so Cunningham said she had last-second doubts as to whether her longtime dream was about to be realized.
“I didn’t really think I would get it because it was down to the last line, but then they called my name,” Cunningham said. “I was so excited.”
A 2016 graduate of Greencastle High School, Cunningham is entering her sophomore year at IUPUI with plans to become a registered nurse.
Also soaking up the excitement of the crowning moments was Abner, who displayed the self-effacing quality one expects from someone selected as Miss Congeniality.
“I was very, very surprised but I’m also very humbled to know that the girls voted for me,” Abner said. “I love the group of girls and I have had the best couple months of my entire life with them. It’s a great way to end my 10 years (of 4-H).”
Abner is the daughter of Monica and Tom Abner of Bainbridge. A recent North Putnam graduate, she is heading to the University of the Cumberlands to study physical therapy.
“I’m so excited,” Abner said. “My best friend (Second Runner-Up) Bronwyn (Spencer) — we have been together for so long. We have wanted to do this since we were Exploring 4-H’ers together. So for both of us to be on the court and for us to have new friends is going to be great. I cannot wait.”
The queen echoed this sentiment, praising the girls with whom she’ll spend much of the next fortnight.
“I plan to have a lot of fun the next two weeks and get really close with my court,” Cunningham said. “I’m so excited that the girls got picked who they did because I love all of them.
“And for the whole year, I just want to represent the best county in Indiana.”