One of the many perks of being a local pseudo-celebrity is that you never know where or when you’ll be asked to make a guest appearance. (One of the others, of course, is deluding yourself into thinking you’re a celebrity in the first place.) Over the years, I’ve developed quite the reputation, it seems, for being a judge. Not of the bench and gavel variety, but of the Paula Abdul sit there and look pretty even though you generally have no idea what you’re talking about variety. From Miss Plymouth Days to a Unadilla Valley talent show to the much-missed Grove Park Idol, I’ve grown pretty comfortable with a score sheet and a critical eye.
But this week, at the 162nd Chenango County Fair, I do believe I reached the pinnacle of my judgeship – I was one of three panelists deciding who would win the coveted Miss Chenango County Teen-Ager crown. I was quite honored to be asked … I’ve always been a fan of Dick Gillespie’s, and when his granddaughter Shana asked me to be a judge – for the 40th annual pageant, no less – I could hardly say no.
After baking under the red hues of the entertainment tent for a few hours Wednesday afternoon, I almost wished I’d had – almost, but I’m very glad I said yes. Dick has a breezy, natural charm on stage that makes his contestants and audience feel at ease – even if some of his jokes are as stale as week-old bread! And while I signed on to do the ‘Miss Teen-Ager’ contest, I didn’t realize that I’d be judging all the other age groups too. While I consider myself an arbiter of post-pubescent beauty, the whole baby thing is lost on me. Until they reach a certain age, I think they all kind of look like potatoes. That said, there were some darn cute potatoes in the contest this week!