SUTHERLAND—It is fair to say that Anna Friedrichsen was not expecting to reign as a queen for the next year.

The 17-year-old from rural Sutherland was crowned the 2019 O’Brien County Fair queen on July 22 at the county fairgrounds in Primghar, which surprised her and her parents, Dan and Cathi.

There were 11 other royalty candidates vying for the title of county fair queen, including Jillian Heemstra of rural Primghar, who was named the county fair princess.

“I was very surprised, just because there were so many girls,” the younger Friedrichsen said. “It was a shock, but it was a good surprise.”

Mitchell Hunt of Alton was crowned as this year’s county fair king, beating out two other royalty candidates.

This year’s county fair royalty candidates went through individual and group interview sessions on June 2 at Grace Lutheran Church in Primghar.

These two components, along with a written application, were the three criteria that three judges used to sort through the group of candidates.

“Each of us had an individual interview for 10 minutes,” Friedrichsen said. “That’s where they would ask us questions.

“After that, we had a group interview,” she said. “It was just larger topics that we all kind of just talked about and gave what our opinion was about them.”

All county fair royalty candidates received a cash award. The three fair royalty finalists received a scholarship.

In addition to her duties during this year’s county fair, such as handing out ribbons and attending the variety of competition shows, Friedrichsen will attend various communities’ celebrations this summer throughout the county, such as in Hartley, Sheldon and Sutherland.

At next year’s county fair, she will take part in the coronation by giving a speech and crowning the next county fair queen.

For being crowned as this year’s county fair queen, Friedrichsen is set to attend the 2019 Iowa State Fair, which will be held Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 8-18, in Des Moines.

She is required to be at the state fair Tuesday-Saturday, Aug. 6-10.

The coronation will be held at 7 p.m. that Saturday.

“It’s going to be very busy,” Friedrichsen said. “They have stuff planned for us every day.”

She is looking forward to having her fair share of food at the state fair.

“Funnel cakes are always good,” Friedrichsen said.

She also expects to meet new people while she is at the state fair.

Past O’Brien County Fair queens she knows have told her about their experiences while at the state fair in Des Moines.

“They just say that you will meet people that will be your friends for a long time,” Friedrichsen said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Her older cousin Olivia Sickelka, a rural Sutherland native, was crowned the 2014 county fair queen.

Sickelka’s younger twin sisters Alexa and Savanna and Friedrichsen’s older sister Lily also have competed in the past to be the county fair queen.

A member of the Sutherland-based G&W Feeders 4-H Club, Friedrichsen had never applied to be a county fair queen candidate before.

Friedrichsen’s friend Erin Wagner of rural Primghar, last year’s county fair queen, was in charge of crowning Friedrichsen with the title this year.

“I’ve been asking her a lot of questions — like clothes, what to bring,” Friedrichsen said of attending the state fair. “We have an interview, which has to be business attire.

“We need our prom dresses two times,” she said. “Then most of the days, we have to wear casual dresses or a nice outfit for walking around the fair.”

She cannot imagine how busy her life would become if she was named the 2019 state fair queen as she enters her senior year at South O’Brien High School in Paullina.

“I’m not expecting it,” Friedrichsen said. “It’d be challenging.”

In addition to being a National Honor Society member, she is involved in basketball, softball and volleyball, and throws the discus and shot put in track.

When she is not busy with sports, Friedrichsen enjoys hanging out with her family and friends; hunting and trapping with her father and older brother Will; and taking care of the animals — especially the cats — at her family’s rural Sutherland home.

The avid artist had a visual arts project — a green iguana on a brown log made out of clay — at this year’s county fair that qualified for the state fair.

“I’m just excited for the state fair,” Friedrichsen said. “It’s going to be fun.”

This story was originally published in the Aug. 3 issue of The South O'Brien Sun.