A significant part of the tradition of Eden’s 49-year Corn Festival is tied to its Miss Corn Fest Pageant.  It’s a scholarship-based competetion which, over time, has seen an accompilshed list of young women vie for the crown. 

This year, I happened to be walking by the newly chosen Miss Corn Fest as winning photos were snapped and congratulations awarded.  I have to say that at first glance I was surprised, as the young woman wearing the crown was far from the norm of previous corn queens. 

Primarily the contrast was in her hairstyle— flamboyantly colored in shades of florescent blue, frosty white and velvet black.  And to be honest, as I saw her standing next to her more traditionally-styled fellow contestants, I wondered how this unusual looking young woman had captured the crown.

It was not until the next day when I was talking to the father of the pageant runner-up that I realized just how off base and unfair I had been in my ”appearance only” assessment.

As her hair color indicates, the new corn queen is an unconventional young woman. It is because of her unique style that she has endured many life challenges, including bullying by her fellow students.  Yet to her credit, this young woman decided  to compete in the Corn Queen Contest because she is different and has developed the courage to stand up and be recognized for her individuality.

As the father of the runner-up concluded his story, he said that the new queen was remarkable in competiting for corn title and fully deserving of the honor—blue hair and all.

I’m going to keep this young girl in the forefront of my thoughts as I campaign…as a reminder of the true measure of beauty—-as well as character and courage.