Any county fair would be incomplete without a spelling bee, so the 199th Lewis County Fair welcomed spellers from five schools to compete July 19.
Copenhagen Central School Principal Nadine O’Shaughnessy was the master of ceremonies for the event, which was divided into four age groups.
Chistopher Villiere, elementary principal for South Lewis Central School, Turin, was the pronouncer for the spelling bee.
Grades one and two were up first, with the original 12 contestants being whittled down to McKenna Simpson of South Lewis and Araya Grau of Beaver River.
“I’ll let you girls catch your breath,” Mr. Villiere smiled and the crowd chuckled as the two girls went back and forth for several words.
It was McKenna who spelled the championship word of “smudge” and claimed first place in her category.
Araya Grau took second place, Nataleigh Honey of Lowville third, Keira Fahey of Lowville fourth and Jonathan Hewitt of Beaver River fifth.
Grades three and four were next with a total of 13 participants. Will Vokey of Lowville spelled the championship word of “hobbies,” with Sarah Richardson of Copenhagen claiming second place, Sam Miller of Beaver River third, Carson Kempney of Lowville fourth and Riley Gillette of Lowville fifth.
Grades five and six took the stage with 12 spellers. The last standing was Issac Roes of River Valley Mennonite School placing first with the championship word of “capitalize.” Lillian Exford of Lowville placed second, Brayden Gillette of Lowville third, Tessa Murphy of Beaver River fourth and GracieLynn Black of South Lewis fifth.
The last group consisted of eight contestants for grades seven and eight. “Topography,” spelled by first-place winner Israel Moore of Beaver River, was the championship word. Following Israel’s lead was Annabella LaPluma of Lowville in second place, Stephanie Beyer of Lowville in third, Olivia King of Lowville in fourth and Joel Haldeman of River Valley Mennonite in fifth.
All contestants received ribbons, certificates and books courtesy of the Lewis County Agricultural Society, which also provided monetary prizes for the top five placers: $35 for first place, $25 for second, $20 for third, $15 for fourth and $10 for fifth.