TOPSFIELD — A Hamilton woman was named the winner of the 49th annual Mrs. Essex County Pageant Sunday afternoon at the Topsfield Fair.
The winner, Laura Blanchard Bitler, a lifetime member of the Essex Agricultural Society, received her crown at America’s oldest agricultural fair, which is run by the Essex Agricultural Society.
“Being named Mrs. Essex County is something I’ve hoped for for a long time,” said Mrs. Bitler. “I’ve been a lifetime member of the Essex Agricultural Society since I was 16 years old, and when we were getting married, we registered for a lifetime membership for my husband.”
When asked what her favorite part of the fair is, she immediately joked, “the German fries,” before adding, “I love the Poultry Barn and all of the agricultural exhibits. I usually come to the fair five to seven times each year and can’t wait to be here every day next year as Mrs. Essex County.
The fair’s Mrs. Essex County pageant is open each year to married women currently living in Essex County who are at least 18 years old. Each contestant submits a prepared food item. This year’s category was their family’s favorite holiday appetizer.
In keeping with the fair’s agricultural roots, contestants were urged to “Buy Local” and to use ingredients from local farms in their entries. Mrs. Bitler prepared deviled eggs as her favorite holiday appetizer, which placed third in the prepared food contest.
As Mrs. Essex County, Bitler, who was also selected as Mrs. Congeniality in a vote by the other contestants, will be instrumental in the Essex Agricultural Society’s goal to educate the general public regarding the importance of agriculture through the fun and excitement of the Topsfield Fair.