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Two vying for Milan Melon Festival queen title

By KARLEE STEFFANNI • Updated Aug 25, 2017 at 7:41 PM

MILAN — Two ladies will vie for the crown this year at the traditional Milan Melon Festival queen’s contest. 

The contest will take place at the Milan Melon Festival at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 2 on the main stage in the Milan village square.

Grace Barker, the daughter of Doug Barker and Shannon and John Stephens, is a senior at Edison High School. Her siblings include Victoria, Callie, Robin, Aubrey, Alison, Kevin, Jillian, and Nick. Grace Barker is a varsity cheerleader for both football and basketball. She also participates in Key, math and Spanish clubs, softball, choir council and Teen Leadership Corps. Outside of school, Barker works as a sales associate at Old Navy and coaches children’s soccer. In her free time she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, playing softball and Geocaching. After graduation, Barker plans to attend BGSU Firelands and study to become a radiologist. Barker is sponsored by the Village Drive-Thru for the contest.

Brooke Houser, the daughter of Brian and Stephanie, is a senior at Edison High School. Her siblings include Kiersten, Molly, Emma and Becca. Houser has a dog named Roxy and in her spare time she enjoys practicing hair styles, applying make-up, and spending time with friends and family. Houser has participated in National Technical Honor Society, Skills USA, Key Club, varsity volleyball, cheerleading and softball. She is also a 4-H member and has shown at the Ohio State Fair. Houser is currently attending EHOVE Career Center for cosmetology and this summer, she participated in an internship at New Looks Salon & Spa. After high school, Houser plans to work as a cosmetologist. She is sponsored by Great Lakes Electric for the contest.

The queen and court include Olivia Blatnik, Lauren Wolf and Madison Moyer.

Blatnik, who was last year’s queen, plans to attend BGSU Firelands to pursue a degree in nursing. Wolf, the first attendant, is a student at Heidelberg college, where she double majors in biology and health science and is a member of the softball team. Moyer, last year’s second attendant, is a student at Bowling Green State University and plans to major in the medical field. 

“It has truly been an honor to represent Milan this year as the Milan melon queen,” Blatnik said.

“My childhood dream was to become the Melon queen, but never did I think it would come true. This experience has taught me to believe in myself no matter what. I had the amazing opportunity to travel all over Ohio to 16 festivals, a total of 1,188 miles. I traveled as far north as the Geneva Grape Festival and as far south as the Circleville Pumpkin Show.

“I am so blessed to have had this experience with two of my closest friends, Lauren and Madison. They were the best court and I will always cherish our memories together. Along my journey I have made many new friends and have met so many beautiful girls inside and out,” Blatnik said.

“As a member of the Teen Leadership Corps at Edison High School this past year, I was assigned a large community project. I decided I would hold a ‘princess camp’ for young girls in the community. Girls in kindergarten through fourth grade spent the day learning about every-day manners and how to present themselves as a ‘princess.’ My goal was to teach girls in the community about the importance of good manners at a young age. All of the money that I raised through this project was donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County organization.

“Seeing many young girls look up to me made my heart so entirely happy. This year would not have been possible without many important people. Thank you to my biggest supporters, my family and friends,” she said.

“Thank you to my sponsors Tom and Nancy Gfell at the Milan Inn-Tiques. Thank you Smiley Automotive for the use of your trucks for our parades. Thank you to Mandi and Cathy Richards for being incredible queen directors. Lastly, thank you to the community of Milan for being so supportive and an honor to represent. Good luck Brooke and Grace. I will forever and always be your 2016-17 Milan Melon Festival queen.”

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