Candidates begin preparation for Sweet Corn Fest Queen Pageant

Three candidates in this year’s Sweet Corn Festival Queen Pageant, left to right, are Alex Barrera, Paityn Barkman and Katherine Wohrley. (Photo courtesy of Setchell Studio)

A field of 15 contestants hope to represent Mendota

MENDOTA – Selecting the Queen to reign over the festivities of Mendota’s 72nd Annual Sweet Corn Festival will not be an easy task. There are 15 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. 9 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. Pageant Co-Chairperson and former Sweet Corn Festival Queens, Rachel Buchanan (2010) and Alison Wasmer (2000), will be working closely with the candidates in preparation for the big night. 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 2019 Sweet Corn Festival Queen title.

The Mendota Elks Lodge #1212 has selected Alex Barrera as its queen candidate. She is the daughter of Gary and Beth Barrera of Mendota.  She has brown eyes and brown hair, and stands 5-5.

Barrera is a May 2019 graduate of Mendota High School, where she was active in several sports, including the volleyball and softball teams for three years and softball team captain for one year. She was also a member of the track team for one year and basketball team for four years, serving as captain her senior year.  In addition, she served one year on the Student Council.

This summer you can find Barrera working at the Peru Marcelloni’s, where she makes pizzas and takes orders. She will also be giving swimming lessons and spending time with her family and friends.

Barrera’s hobbies include swimming and playing card games with her family and friends. She also enjoys going for walks with her mom and dog. She loves reading, shopping, and working out. In her free time, she also likes to spend time with kids and help others.

Her plans for the future include graduating from college and becoming a veterinarian assistant. Later she plans to settle down and start a family.

Barrera also believes that she is a friendly person and willing to help someone in need.

Paityn Barkman will be representing the Mendota Optimist Club in this year’s pageant. She is the daughter of Dave and Michelle Barkman.  She is 5-3 and has hazel eyes and blonde hair.

Barkman graduated from Mendota High School in May 2019. She was active in many sports teams, participating in tennis for four years, and bowling and softball for three years. She was also a principal’s office worker. Outside of school she has been active in the community by volunteering with her sponsor the Mendota Optimist Club and with other activities like the Thank Dank Memorial 5K and her church camp.

This summer you will find Barkman lifeguarding, working at the local hardware store, and babysitting. When she’s not working, you can find her spending time with her family and friends. She also loves to take her dog on walks and to go swimming.

Barkman’s future plans include attending Illinois Valley Community College in the Fall to become a registered nurse, then pursuing her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.

The Mendota Community Theatre has chosen Katherine Wohrley to represent it in the Queen Pageant.  She is the daughter of Kevin and Jill Wohrley. She has brown hair and brown eyes and is 5-4.

A May graduate of Mendota High School, Wohrley was a member of the tennis and volleyball teams for two years and the basketball team for three years. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was the Vice President her senior year. While at MHS she became very involved in the Music Department. Wohrley was in band, choir, and show choir, and she held offices in each activity. She was the senior class president and given the title of being an Illinois State Scholar. Last summer Wohrley attended Illini Girls State where she was elected as the City Treasurer. She also participated in Madrigals, MHS theatre performances, Math Team, Academic Challenge, and the Interact Club.

Wohrley plans on attending Northern Illinois University in the Fall, where she will be in the honor program. She is seeking a Master’s Degree in Accounting.

This summer you will find Wohrley playing tennis, hiking, and swimming. She will be working at Woodhaven as a recreational attendant. At her job she serves ice cream, works camps, and many other activities. She is also very excited to go on a mission trip to St. Louis with her church youth group.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. Wohrley also loves to sing and travel. She is very interested in music, math, animals, and especially anything that involves being outside. She also loves performing in the 3M summer musicals and will be starring in this summer’s 3M production, “Matilda.”

Wohrley is so happy to have had many opportunities to volunteer for the community through the area Special Olympics, Red Cross and many other local groups, and she looks forward to doing more in the future.


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