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Royalty at Berrien County Youth Fair built on tradition

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- They may be royalty, but they’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and tend to their livestock at the fair.

The Berrien County Youth Fair kicked off its 2017 run on Monday.

“It’s definitely something I’m proud to be doing, and I really hope that I can inspire younger kids or maybe encourage other people to come to the fair and do more stuff as well,” said Lilly Jillson, the queen of the fair this year.

From handing out ribbons to encouraging young participants, the fair’s royalty plays many roles throughout the week.

“We’ve got to be [in] six places at one time,” Benjamin Myers, this year’s king, said.

In addition to tending to their own animals that compete, the royal family acts as the face of the fair and a source of symbolism to its youngest participants.

“I always looked up to the queen and the king when I was a kid, and so now that I know there’s kids looking up to me, I want to be that person that they’re all like, ‘Wow! That’s really cool! I want to do that!’” Jillson said.

Myers and Jillson applied and competed to become king and queen throughout the last month; winning a scholarship, along with the title.

They join the rest of the royal family in helping host this week’s fair.

After the festivities end, the local royalty will spend the next year appearing at events throughout the county.

The Berrien County Youth Fair runs from Monday, August 14 through Saturday, August 19 at the fairgrounds in Berrien Springs.

You can find more information by clicking here.

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