Best friends exchanged the crown as Alisha Adams was named Bartholomew County’s 2017 fair queen.

When Adams’ name was announced as Miss Congeniality during Sunday night’s competition at Columbus North High School, there were cheers.

But the second time her name was called as the 2017 fair queen, the 18-year-old from Columbus was overcome with emotion as she was crowned by last year’s winner, Bailey Meyer. The pair have been best friends since starting their freshman years of high school.

Adams spend her first three years at Columbus North, then transferred to Columbus East High School for her senior year. Meyer was a four-year student at East, where both completed their high school educations in June.

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“Being named Miss Congeniality was amazing at first, but then calling my name again, I could barely stand,” Adams said. “Honestly, being crowned by my absolute best friend is an amazing experience.”

Adams competed with 14 other hopefuls at the fair queen pageant, winning the first year she entered.

“I was up against some amazing women and I’m so blessed to be picked,” Adams said with a big smile as she was surrounded by friends, family and fellow contestants on stage. “I definitely didn’t see it coming.”

Describing herself as speechless, Adams exchanged hugs and posed for photos after the announcement.

Adams said she was a little nervous about possibly falling on stage during the competition, but she had been given advice to just be herself.

“They want somebody to embody a queen, they want somebody to embody Columbus and that’s what I really went into this doing,” she said.

The theme for this year’s pageant was the Wonderful World of Food with the judges asking contestants to respond to questions pulled from a hat that related to food.

Adams was asked what her favorite go-to food at the Bartholomew County Fair is, and responded that corn on the cob is something that she enjoys.

Adams also said she hopes she can have an effect on the lives of children during the fair in her new role, modeling poise and confidence to the younger set at the fairgrounds.

“I want a little kid and even an adult to walk away with that from me,” she said. “I want everyone to feel important and I really want to give everyone a big hug and make sure everyone feels loved.”

Adams’ mother, Susan Grossman, embraced her daughter on stage and described the moment as being unbelievable.

Meyer also said she hopes that her best friend has the opportunity to live up every moment during the fair.

“I hope she never forgets where she comes from,” Meyer said.

Adams, who will be a Purdue University freshman this fall, said being queen will give her a different perspective on the fair.

“I’m going to be a little bit more behind the scenes than usual,” she said.

Adams also hopes she can demonstrate the importance of being kind to one another and wants to be someone who embodies 4-H, Columbus and the Bartholomew County Fair as a whole.

“I want everyone to feel important,” she said. “No matter what you’ve been through or where you’ve been and the struggles you face, you never know what you can overcome.”

About Alisha Adams

Age: 18

City: Columbus

Parents: Susan Grossman and Danny Adams

Education: June graduate of Columbus East High School; will be attending Purdue University in the fall to study agriculture communications

Activities/organizations: Four-year FFA member, officer in FFA, District XI reporter, volleyball and Best Buddies

Hobbies and interests: Friends, family, listening to music, drawing and hiking

Members of queen's court

Queen/Miss Congeniality: Alisha Adams

First runner-up: Sarah Hayes

Second runner-up: Taylor Smith

Third runner-up: Lydia Doughty

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or