Higgins, Ribey, Fischer crowned Brussels Fall Fair Ambassadors
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The Brussels Agricultural Society has three new representatives (though one has simply shifted from one position to another) after last week’s special Ambassador night, held at the Brussels Legion.
Loretta Higgins from the Brussels area is the new Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador, while Paislee Ribey is the Junior Ambassador (moving on from being the 2022 Little Ambassador) and Isla Fischer is the new Little Ambassador, giving the society its first full slate of ambassadors in several years.
Higgins, who now succeeds Deanna Haanstra, did not win the crown unopposed, however, as fellow Brussels-area resident Madison Koch challenged for the title.
The two young women presented slideshow presentations outlining why agriculture is important to them and a big part of their lives. This is a break from tradition as the competition has historically featured a full day of interviews, speeches, impromptu questions and more. Ambassador Committee members Nicole Lowe, Hannah Hodgins, Maggie Speer and Morgan Deitner, who served as the night’s emcee, chose to do things differently this year, allowing the contestants to take a different path towards wowing those in attendance, as well as the judges, who were Brussels Agricultural Society Past-President Dorothy Cummings and 2019 Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador Sean Mitchell.
Higgins spoke about growing up on a farm and having agriculture and a love of local food woven into all aspects of her life, from her home to her work to her social interactions. Koch shared similar sentiments, speaking about her father’s work in nutrient management and her love of local food and work at Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company, which is a beacon of local food for many.
In the end, however, the judges chose Higgins, who boasted a lengthy history with local 4-H Clubs and a past stint as the Huron County Plowmen’s Association’s Queen of the Furrow.
Higgins thanked the judges and those in attendance and said she looks forward to representing the organization in the years to come.
Ribey and Fischer both had the opportunity to address those in attendance, though they didn’t have to compete to win their crowns. Ribey relinquished the Little Ambassador crown, but then took on the Junior Ambassador crown. Meanwhile, Fischer was also crowned as the new Little Ambassador.
Fischer read aloud her submission to the society. Deitner also told those in attendance a bit more about Fischer, who will be entering Grade 5 at North Woods Elementary School this fall and enjoys gymnastics, baseball and spending time with her cousins.
Ribey also spoke, recounting her experiences over the past year and all the time she was able to spend with Haanstra, from opening the Brussels Fall Fair at the Four Winds Barn to frigid cold nights at local Santa Claus parades.
Haanstra also provided a bit of a farewell speech, discussing how much she had improved her skills in terms of public speaking and more and that being an ambassador for the Brussels Fall Fair is an experience she’ll always hold close to her heart.
Speer then expressed her gratitude to the two young girls for their service over the past year, saying that being a local fall fair ambassador is something that they will always carry with them.
She told a story of a job interview she had about 25 years ago, saying that the only thing her potential employer wanted to talk about was her time as Fair Queen (as it was then). After she was hired, she asked the interviewer about their focus on the ambassador title and he said it was telling that Speer was chosen by her community to represent her community outside of her community. She said she’s never forgotten that conversation.
The Brussels Fall Fair is set for Tuesday, Sept. 19 and Wednesday, Sept. 20.