By Brianna Boyd
Special to Dixon Patch
Amid thunderous applause, the Dixon May Fair crowned its royalty Thursday night.
Annaley Herzog, 18, of Vacaville, beamed with pride and excitement from the Leber Garden Stage as she was crowned the 2012 Dixon May Fair Queen. She has been an active participant in the May Fair and 4-H for many years, and has always dreamed of being named to the royalty court. With hard work and dedication, that dream came true.
“I feel so ecstatic, I’m so excited,” she exclaimed. “This is my second home. I’ve been doing the May Fair for so many years and to be able to represent the fair for my last year is an honor.”
Joining Herzog on the 2012 Royalty Court is Princess Sara McNeill, 17, of Vacaville, Ambassador Robert Sirizzotti, 11, of Dixon, Junior Princess Kylie Goetz, 12 of Dixon, and Little Miss Grace Bors, 11, of Dixon. Sandra Sirizzotti, 9, of Dixon, was named the Little Miss in Waiting and Kirstyn Lockhart, 16, of Vacaville, is the Princess in Waiting.
The children and teenagers who make up the May Fair’s royalty court are some of the most recognized individuals at both the Dixon May Fair and the Dixon May Fair Parade. They receive roaring applause every year when they ride their horses in the parade and are often competitors in some of the most popular May Fair competitions, including the hog-calling contest.
Proudly wearing their sashes and crowns, the royalty court members serve as representatives for the historic fair throughout the year, and also ride in multiple area parades.
“There is no word to describe how happy I am right now,” McNeill said. “I did this because I wanted to ride horses and I wanted to come to the Dixon May Fair. It’s been great doing everything and it’s a great learning experience. I love coming here.”
Royalty court coordinator Rhonda Rayn described the seven hopefuls as individuals who are “as beautiful on the inside as on the outside”. The Royalty Court competition is open to any Solano County youth between the ages of 9 and 18. The girls in the contest compete within four categories – queen, princess, junior princess, and little miss. Boys compete to serve as ambassadors.
Thursday’s crowning was a culmination of hard work that began back in January. There are several components to the competition all the contestants had to follow. As part of their application that was due in March, the contestants each included an essay, addressed to the public, which described why he or she wanted to be a part of the royalty court. Candidates had to include at least three photographs in their essay, one of just themselves, another with their horse, and a third of their choice. All candidates were also required to enter and participate in the Royalty Court Horsemastership Class during the Dixon May Fair Junior Horse Show in April. And just days before the start of the 137th annual fair, the hopefuls participated in interviews with Dixon May Fair board members and Dixon community leaders, where they were asked several questions and judged based on how they greeted and responded to people.
Altogether, the 2012 Royalty Court candidates were judged on their essay, photography, the Dixon May Fair Junior Horse Show, the interview, and a poster each created that follows the fair’s theme of “This Is My County”. They also rode in the Winters Youth Day Parade last month.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun,” Goetz said. “I’ve done this for two years and this is my first year winning. I’m very excited.”
The last few months have been an incredible journey for Herzog. She has competed in the Royalty Court contest in the past, and although she has been proud to be a “lady in waiting”, she has always wanted to wear a crown.
“I really wanted it and that’s why I’m so excited right now,” she said. “It’s all hard work and dedication. This year, I was really motivated because it was my last year. I gave it 110 percent, and it paid off.”
Herzog, who is currently working two jobs and plans to attend veterinary school in the fall, is turning 19 at the end of the month and will no longer be eligible to show animals in the Dixon May Fair. But her show days are far from over. She and her horse, “Badge” participate in horse shows across northern California and she is excited for the opportunity to compete in the adult divisions.
But do not expect her to ever miss a Dixon May Fair.
“I’ve been coming here since I was so little,” she said. “It’s always been a family tradition for us, a home away from home.”
Editor's note: Brianna is the editor of the