The Plumas-Sierra County Fair Foundation announced the 2018 edition of the Sweetheart of the Mountains Scholarship Competition. Two young ladies — Grace Bristol of Portola and Rebecca Leonhardt of Quincy — have stepped forward to join the many Plumas and Sierra county girls who have competed for the title since the mid-1940s. The competition is open to young women, ages 16 to 20, who are residents of Plumas or Sierra counties.
The competition provides an opportunity and venue for contestants to strive to enhance and showcase their abilities and poise during a stage performance Saturday, May 5, at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. The performance will take place as part of a Rhythm and Grace Dance Studio presentation in Serpilio Hall. Sweetheart of the Mountains is a scholarship competition based on positive attributes that reflect well on Plumas and Sierra counties.
Candidates compete in three areas: talent, poise and fundraising. Each contestant will perform a talent during the evening, as well as display poise by how they carry themselves and answer a random question on stage. Fundraising is already underway. Proceeds benefit the fair foundation, a nonprofit that exists to promote and improve the fairgrounds in Quincy. Fifty percent of the money raised goes to the foundation, while the other half goes to each contestant’s future education.
The young lady named 2018 Sweetheart of the Mountains receives a $1,000 scholarship from the foundation and the runner-up receives $500.
A panel of judges gives scores during the performance in talent and poise. Points for fundraising are based on how much each girl raises. Fundraising represents the smallest percentage of the total score used to crown a winner.
While the poise and talent portion of the competition will take place May 5, the winner will not be announced until the annual County Picnic, which will be held at the fairgrounds Saturday, June 2.
“Funds raised by the competition, and other efforts by the foundation, have paid for new point of sale devices, hand dryers throughout the fairgrounds, entry fee scholarships, outdoor movies, improvements to the floriculture program and much more,” said fair manager John Steffanic.
Contestants are required to represent the fair during the competition, and both girls will appear in parades and other community events leading up to this year’s fair, taking place Aug. 8 through 12. As part of the competition, each contestant will make a presentation, before the May 5 performance, to a civic organization in their community.
“Both girls are already considered leaders in their communities and are an asset to our counties,” said Steffanic.