PALMETTO -- There were many "firsts" for the 2015 Miss Manatee County Fair Pageant, held Saturday night in Palmetto.
This was the first time the pageant was held in the Entertainment Tent on the fairgrounds and a Country Western Wear category was added to the Party Dress/Evening Gown Competition, along with questions posed on stage for each of the 36 contestants.
It was also a "first" for Hannah Roddenberry, 22, of Bradenton, who after competing since she was a little girl, finally won the title and was crowned the 2015 Miss Manatee County Fair Queen.
"I feel like tonight's my night. I would tell all the other contestants to really persevere because their dreams can be accomplished," she said.
Roddenberry, who grew up in Manatee County and is a senior about to graduate from the University of Florida, said she appreciates the
county's rich agricultural heritage, which is the theme of this year's fair.
"I miss that culture and I'm glad I came back to be in this pageant," Roddenberry said, beaming while outgoing queen, Bailey Mosley, crowned her and presented her a bouquet of flowers.
Roddenberry, who said she has the time to take part in all the responsibilities that accompany her title, added that she is looking forward to serving the community during her year's reign as queen.
The pageant, sponsored by Manatee Memorial Hospital, also crowned a 2015 Junior Miss, Hannah Brady; a Little Miss, Regan Williams; and a Mini Miss, Analise Pena.
Pageant contestants for all four titles ranged in ages from 7 to 24.
"This really is a chance for the girls to show their personalities and their personal styles," said Ellen Meade, producer of the pageant for the past 27 years, "and our Country Western Wear (category) is totally their interpretation."
Sue Revel, "Queen Mom" and Manatee River Fair Association board member emeritus, who helped introduce the pageant on stage, said she will serve as the chaperone for the winners crowned Saturday night. She added that each will grow into their position.
"A year from now, they won't be the same. They'll be poised, they'll stand taller and they'll carry themselves with confidence."
Revel said the queen's first commitment will be an appearance at the fair's Cheerleading competition Monday night.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.