Iowa State Fair Queen begins her reign balancing school, crown


Hannah Olson / Iowa State Daily

Jacqueline Erhlich, 2017 Iowa State Fair Queen, poses in Kildee Hall on Aug 22.  

Jill O'Brien

Walking among the fair food and 4-H projects, Jacqueline Ehrlich described the last day of the Iowa State Fair as “pretty crazy.”

“By the time you finally realize what has happened to you, it’s almost over,” Ehrlich said of the last day of fair week and the start of her time as the Iowa State Fair Queen. 

The Iowa State sophomore has been involved in fairs her whole life, participating in Dairy Quiz Bowl and Dairy Judging at the Dubuque County Fair, a lifelong 4-H member and native of Holy Cross, IA. She was crowned Dubuque County Fair Queen two years ago after someone at that fair suggested she enter the pageant.

“I remember one time I was working in one of the booths and somebody said ‘You should consider running for fair queen, I think you would do a really good job. I like the way you interact with the public.'” When she was crowned, Ehrlich was automatically able to compete for the state fair crown along with 102 other girls. 

“It has always been part of my life. I really enjoy being part of the fair and to be able to talk to people about something that I love so much, and that has been a huge part of my summer forever. It was really important to me to be able to share that love,” Ehrlich said. 

While the pageant judges on poise, appearance and awareness, Ehrlich said that being well-rounded and positively representing the fair are also key components to being Fair Queen. She also said that being older was an advantage when involved in the pageant.

“I’m 19. The ages go from 16 to 21. I think that it was in my advantage to have finished my first year of college already because I’ve had so many experiences and been blessed with a lot of things at this point,” Ehrlich said.

Now that she is queen, she will be traveling to county fairs and Association of Iowa fair conferences through the fall and all of next summer. An agricultural biochemistry major, Ehrlich plans to stay involved in clubs at Iowa State as well as balance her duties as the State Fair Queen. 

“(On the first day of school) There were a lot of times I just sat there and shook my head because I have a lot to do and a lot to get organized…but I’m gonna go buy a really big planner and keep myself organized,” Ehrlich said, who also participates in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (BBMB) Club, intramural sports and volunteers with LifeServe Blood Center. She hopes to get her Ph.D and do metabolic research for a company or the FDA. Even with her responsibilities as queen, Ehrlich plans to stay involved in her extracurriculars. “It’ll be busier, but I’m excited about it.”

For Ehrlich, being Fair Queen is bigger than wearing a crown and traveling around the state. “It’s a lot of internal deciphering of what to do with it. I just started volunteering with LifeServe – I’m really passionate about plasma and platelet donation and drives because what’s not used for treatment is used for research, and if you can cure diseases with this research, that’s really, really important to me.” 

Ehrlich will crown the 2018 State Fair Queen three days into the next State Fair, but she plans to stay busy and do good with the title she has earned. “God doesn’t hand you a crown- He expects you to do something with it.”

Her advice to the next girl to receive the crown? “If you’re considering running, find something that you’re passionate about and be passionate about it. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and you have to make the most of it, because you can do so much with this kind of a title.”