Kaitlyn Alanis fell in love with agriculture after joining 4-H in the fourth grade.
“Not coming from an agricultural background, I had not even the slightest idea 4-H would be the starting (point),” Alanis said.
The 18-year-old was crowned Miss May Day at the annual pageant last month.
The Los Banos High School senior’s experiences in 4-H, and later FFA, allow her to attend out-of-state conventions and, in her words, “see how much our small agriculturally-based community has to offer.”
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“From the cotton in the fall to the tomatoes growing in the summer, I absolutely love the agricultural industry,” Alanis said in the speech portion of the competition. “I’m proud to say this industry is going to be a huge part of my heritage.”
Alanis promises, as Miss May Day, to visit elementary schools and tout the impact of agriculture.
“Agricultural knowledge is power,” she said.
Alanis’ three competitors complete the Miss May Day court. First runner-up Emma Machado of Hilmar High School and May Day Princesses Mercedes Encinas and Jenna Borba, both of Gustine High, will accompany Alanis as fair royalty.
For a third year, the pageant included the pink rose competition, in which contestants purchase their outfits from thrift stores.
Other portions of the competition included evening gown, western wear and impromptu questioning. Contestants also had a luncheon-interview session with judges before the stage competitions.
Alanis and her court will be at the fair all five days, judging contests, attending events, speaking at ceremonies and participating in the May Day Parade.
Alanis is ready to celebrate the growth of a gathering that began in 1890 as a picnic for 500 people hosted by town founder Henry Miller. She referenced fair attendance that topped 75,500 in recent years.
“It continually grows,” she said. “That is something to celebrate.
The Merced County Spring Fair begins April 30.