Jill Gemmer, representing Van Wert High School, is shown being crowned Queen Jubilee XLV by last year's Queen, Michaella Johnson. (Photo submitted)
Jill Gemmer, representing Van Wert High School, is shown being crowned Queen Jubilee XLV by last year's Queen, Michaella Johnson. (Photo submitted)

VAN WERT – The 2020 Queen Jubilee Pageant, originally scheduled for April 3, was postponed and canceled due to COVID-19 stay at home orders by local and state governments. However, the show still went on, and on Friday, Van Wert High School's Jill Gemmer was crowned 2020 Queen Jubilee XLV.

Gemmer will be receiving a $1,200 scholarship payable to the college of her choice along with the honor of representing our community as the 2020 Peony Festival Queen.

First runner up, winning an $800 scholarship, is Victoria Snyder representing Lincolnview High School.

Second runner up and Talent winner is Katie Strayer from Paulding High School winning a $600 and $400 scholarship respectively.

Miss Congeniality is Tori Buggert from Spencerville High School winning a $250 scholarship. The Miss Congeniality award is voted on by all the contestants.

The Community Involvement scholarship winner is Victoria Snyder representing Lincolnview High school. The community involvement award is voted on by the Peony Festival Board based on an application submitted by each pageant contestant illustrating all their community, school, and church activities.

The Pageant Committee and last year’s Queen Jubilee XLIV, Michaella Johnson, presented the awards during a porch crowning ceremony at each contestant’s home on Friday evening.

Other contestants included Aleigh Chesbro of Crestview and Kiersten Roehmn of Parkway.

In uncertain times and with a great deal of planning the Pageant Committee was able to arrange a virtual pageant this year. Contestants completed a preliminary essay and interview that took place on March 12 in person with a panel of three judges.

Additionally, contestants submitted a video recording of their talent and took part in a zoom question and answer meeting both completed on May 1. The talent and question and answer recordings were then sent to the four original pageant judges. The pageant judges scored each contestant’s videos and submitted their scores confidentially to only the pageant auditor by May 15.

The Peony Festival’s Pageant Committee would like to thank all the area businesses that have donated to the 2020 Scholarship fund and appreciate your continued support ABC Concrete – K & L Ready Mix, Alexander & Bebout, American Legion Post #178 Van Wert, Bee Gee Realty & Auction Co., Cooper Farms Cooked Meats, Eaton, Elks Lodge #1197, First Federal Savings & Loan, Greif Bros. Corporation, Keister & Baker Law Office, Karen Pugh- Mary Kay Independent Consultant, Leland Smith Insurance, RAABE Ford Lincoln Mercury, Straley Realty & Auctioneers, Thrivent Financial, and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank.

The Committee would also like to thank the businesses and individuals that have donated prizes and services to the contestants and pageant this year including The Good Earth, The Hair Chair—Spencerville, Impressions Beauty Salon, KAM Manufacturing—Stephanie Dawn, Laudick’s Jewelry, Marge Purmort Memorial Grant, Van Wert Co. Foundation, Maurices, McDonald’s, Scarves by Marilyn, Subway, Trends Hair Salon, Westwood Car Wash, Karen Pugh—Independent Beauty Consultant, The Secret Garden Floral & Gifts—Convoy, Central Mutual Insurance Company, Harold Debolt, Kim Hohman’s Dance Works—Kim & Kylie Hohman, Marsh Foundation, Touches Of Time Antiques, Van Wert Carts & More, Van Wert County Foundation, Van Wert Independent, Van Wert Optimist Club, Van Wert Rotary Club, Van Wert Service Club, and the Van Wert Times Bulletin.

The Peony Festival Board would like to encourage everyone to visit the festival website at www.vwpeonyfestival.com or look for us on Facebook at Peony Festival (Van Wert, Ohio) to locate viewing links of the virtual pageant. You will be able to see the talents and crowning of the virtual pageant featuring all six contestants.

The Peony Festival Board and Pageant Committee look forward to the future and providing a wonderful tradition to our community.