Haiden Bartel, a 10-year-old resident of Chehalis, smiled as she told the crowd at the Southwest Washington Fair that cookie dough is her favorite flavor of ice cream.
There’s a good chance a celebratory scoop or two was had later Tuesday night after Bartel was named the winner of the 2019 Little Miss Friendly contest. Bartel, the daughter of Tony and Tamara Bartel, was awarded the ceremonial cape and sash during a ceremony featuring the five finalists vying to serve a one-year term as the living logo of the fair.
The youngest Bartel was still at a loss for words a good 15 minutes after hearing her name announced onstage and receiving congratulations from a long line of family, friends and well-wishers. She will represent the fair at numerous parades and other public functions throughout the next 12 months, starting with the fair itself.
“I’m just in shock,” Haiden Bartel said. “It’s been so much fun being in parades with my new friends during the last two weeks, and I’m looking forward to being more involved in the community.”
Being crowned a member of county royalty runs in the Bartel family. Tamara served as Winlock Egg Day Queen more than 20 years ago and has regaled her daughter with stories about that experience over the years.
“I had so much fun when I did it,” Tamara Bartel said. “I think that’s maybe part of why (Haiden) was so excited to do Little Miss Friendly.”
Haiden Bartel and the other four finalists — Lily Bailey, Charlie Clinton, Gracie Elam and Avery Garner — were each introduced to the crowd as their families escorted them to the stage at the start of the ceremony. They were joined onstage by outgoing Little Miss Friendly Natalie Butler, Miss Lewis County Rebecca Ford and Lewis County Dairy Ambassador Montanna Heinricher.
Butler gave her final remarks as the reigning Little Miss Friendly before relinquishing the ceremonial cape. She expressed how much fun it was to take part in 13 parades and serve as a judge for the Lighted Tractor Parade in Centralia while serving as the living logo.
“It feels like just yesterday I was sitting on this stage feeling exactly how these five girls are at this exact moment,” Butler said. “I’m so grateful to have five new lifelong friends.”
Each of the five finalists had the opportunity to answer a final question in front of the crowd. Garner said she hoped to be a doctor or a dancer when she grew up, Elam chose elephant ears as her favorite fair food and Clinton said her favorite animals at the fair are the baby goats. Bailey admitted she has never ridden a ride at the fair, but thinks that the Ferris wheel would be the most fun.
She may have gotten her chance Tuesday night, as a group of Little Miss Friendly contestants, family members and friends planned to meet up following the ceremony to get ice cream and explore the midway.
It’s a good bet there was cookie dough involved.