ROCKFORD — Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Alexi Bladel of Rockford will complete her reign as queen after settling a dispute this week with the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, according to State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, who advocated for Bladel.
“I am pleased to share that Alexi Bladel will be permitted to complete her reign as Miss Illinois County Fair Queen without any restrictions after a positive discussion with the members of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs over the past week. I would like to thank the (association) for their determination to reach a solution to Alexi’s status that is acceptable to both sides,” Sosnowski said in a written statement Friday.
“I would also like to thank my colleagues, State Rep. Mike Marron, R-Fithian, and State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, for coming together in a bipartisan way to join me in advocating for Alexi. She will be permitted to participate in the January 2020 pageant to crown the next queen. We applaud Alexi’s commitment to serve our country as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
Bladel, the 2018 Winnebago County Fair Queen, was crowned 2019 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen in January but was notified by the association on Sept. 25 that she was being relieved of her remaining obligations as the reigning queen.
The news came after Bladel enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve. The fair association said last week that Bladel would be relieved of all duties and would not participate in the pageant. The decision was based on challenges Bladel faced meeting the terms of her contract as the state’s county fair queen and had nothing to do with Bladel’s military service, the association said.
Bladel acknowledged that her obligations as a reservist would interfere with some of her duties as queen. She left for basic training in September but was expected to graduate in November, according to a letter that she sent to the association, and planned on being back in time to crown the next queen in January.
The association invited Bladel to rejoin the January pageant, according to a Nov. 4 letter to Bladel.
“Per our tradition,” the letter states, “we look forward to you joining us for the 2020 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen pageant in January, culminating your reign as the 2019 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen and crowning 2020 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen.”
Corina Curry: 815-987-1371; email@example.com; @corinacurry