Though most of the big events won't start until today, Callaway County's inaugural Youth Expo kicked off Wednesday morning with a coronation.
The annual 4-H Royalty Contest, typically held on a Saturday during the summer, was amended this year to be included in the Youth Expo. Thirteen youths ages 8 to 18 participated, vying for crowns in three different age divisions by giving speeches on why they enjoyed 4-H.
Despite hiccups that accompany the first year at a change of format and venue, 4-H Youth Development Program Associate Pam Heimericks said she was happy with the event.
"I am so proud of these young ladies and gentlemen," Heimericks said. "I was a 4-H leader for 10 years before this job, so some of these kids I've seen grow up since Clover Kids age."
The decision to change time and venue came as the Expo was formed, which was intended to shine a bigger spotlight on young people in the community. Heimericks noted the change also allowed a different group of students to participate.
Devan Musgrove and Bailey Kemp were crowned king and queen, Shea Smith and Mark Hollenburg were princess and prince and Mekenna Allen is this year's duchess. The five will represent Callaway County in the Youth Expo, the Christmas Parade, at an awards and recognition dinner and other activities throughout the year.
Though Musgrove was unopposed, Kemp won queen with her speech on how 4-H helped prepare her to be a better leader as well as to inspire future generations to join the group.