12 contestants to compete for title of Sweet Corn Queen

Three contestants in the Sweet Corn Festival Queen Pageant, left to right, are Jenna O'Donnell, Jaelyn Fitzgerald and Madison Pappas. (Photo courtesy of Setchell Studio)

Pageant set for Aug. 13

MENDOTA – Selecting the Queen to reign over the festivities of Mendota’s 74th Annual Sweet Corn Festival will not be an easy task. There are 12 beautiful young ladies to choose from.

The girls have been selected by Mendota not-for-profit organizations to represent them in this year’s pageant. The pageant will be held Friday, Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. on the First State stage on U.S. 34 in downtown Mendota.

Preparations for the event are underway, as the candidates have recently had their publicity photos taken by Setchell Studio of Mendota.

Each of the Sweet Corn Queen hopefuls will be very busy during the next few weeks, rehearsing stage presence and getting ready for their interviews with the judges.

Let’s introduce the first three candidates vying for the 2021 Sweet Corn Festival Queen title.

The Mendota Business and Professional Women have selected Jenna O’Donnell as its Queen candidate. She is the daughter of Michael and Nicole O’Donnell of Mendota. She has blue eyes and brown hair, and stands five feet, five inches tall.

O’Donnell is a 2021 graduate of Mendota High School, where she was active in several sports including volleyball, basketball, and softball for all four years.  She was also an office worker and achieved seven semesters of high honor roll. In addition, she was a National Honor Society member and an Illinois State Scholar.

This summer you can find O’Donnell having fun and hanging out with her friends as much as possible and preparing for her new adventure away at school.

She will be attending the Milwaukee School of Engineering this fall. She plans to receive her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering to be equipped with skills that will allow her to help people with physical disabilities. She also hopes to travel and become familiar with Milwaukee, her home for the next four years.

In her free time, O’Donnell enjoys playing sports, biking, baking, and spending time with her family and friends.

She considers herself to be both outgoing and caring and loves being goofy with her family and friends. 

The Mendota Elks Lodge #1212 has selected Jaelyn Fitzgerald as its candidate in this year’s Queen Pageant. She is the daughter of Toby and Jackie Fitzgerald of Mendota. She is six feet tall and has brown hair and brown eyes.

She is a 2021 graduate of Mendota High School where she played volleyball all four years, basketball for three years, and softball for one year. She also qualified for the BNC conference, all area for volleyball, and honorable mention for volleyball.

Fitzgerald will be attending Sauk Valley Community College in the fall. She is seeking a bachelor’s degree in education and is going to be on the women’s volleyball team.

This summer you will find her working at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in Amboy. At work, she spends her time housekeeping and cleaning cabins. She is also starting volleyball practices and games this summer and plans to spend quality time with family and friends before heading to school.

Fitzgerald enjoys playing volleyball and basketball, as well as hanging out with her family and friends. Additionally, she has a love for the environment and caring for the earth. She enjoys spending time outdoors and gardening.

Her plans for the future are to attend Sauk Valley Community College and eventually transfer to a four-year university to seek a degree in special education.

Fitzgerald considers herself to be a very down to earth and humble person who could spend all of her days outdoors with those closest to her heart.

The Mendota Community Theater has chosen Madison Pappas to represent it in the Queen Pageant. She is the daughter of Sean and Jennifer Pappas of Mendota. Standing five feet, four inches tall, she has blonde hair and blue eyes.

A 2021 graduate of Mendota High School, Pappas was a member of the MHS tennis and cheer teams. She was also on the math team, interact club, drama club and competed in academic challenge. She was a National Honor Society member, an Illinois State Scholar, Spanish Honor Society member and received her seal of biliteracy. She was on the prom committee and was in many MHS theater productions. Pappas was also in choir, band, jazz band, vocal jazz, show choir as the dance captain, and madrigals.

She plans to attend the University of Iowa this fall where she will pursue a degree in biology on the pre-med track.

This summer you will find Pappas working at Lincoln School, cleaning the building in preparation for the next school year. She also works at Purpose Nutrition where she serves customers, helping them create healthier, happier lifestyles.

In her free time, she enjoys sports, reading, singing, and baking. She also loves playing many different instruments and spending time with her family and dogs.

Her future plans are to graduate from the University of Iowa in four years and go on to become a pediatric physician with hopes of specializing in neurology.

Pappas considers herself to be a very friendly, kind, and sociable person who loves working with others.

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