The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 30, 2020

Jill Gemmer crowned Queen Jubilee XLV

VW independent/submitted information

Queen Jubilee XLV Jill Gemmer (seated) is crowned by a masked Queen Jubilee XLIV Michaella Johnson at Gemmer’s residence. photos provided

Although the Queen Jubilee Pageant Committee originally postponed this year’s pageant from its April 3 date and then canceled it due to COVID-19 local and state government “stay at home” orders, pageant organizers still found a way to hold the pageant — virtually.

This year’s Peony royalty — Queen Jubilee XLV Jill Gemmer of Van Wert High School, First Runner-Up Victoria Snyder of Lincolnview High School, and Second Runner-Up Katie Strayer of Paulding High School — were safely crowned by a masked Queen Jubilee XLIV Michaella Johnson during ceremonies held at each contestant’s home on Friday evening. Peony Pageant Committee members also participated in the ceremonies.

For her win, Gemmer earned a $1,200 scholarship payable to the college of her choice, as well as the honor of representing the Van Wert community. Snyder earned an $800 scholarship as first runner-up, and Strayer earned a $600 scholarship as second runner-up and an additional $400 scholarship as this year’s pageant talent winner.

In addition to the top three finishers and the talent winner, the title of Miss Congeniality, which is voted on by all pageant candidates, and a $250 scholarship went to Tori Buggert of Spencerville High School, while Snyder also was awarded the Community Involvement scholarship, which is awarded by the Peony Festival Committee based on applications submitted by candidates detailing their community, school, and church involvement.

While candidates were able to participate in an in-person preliminary judging held March 12, the talent portion of the pageant was done through videos, while a virtual question-and-answer session was held via Zoom meeting software.

The talent videos and question-and-answer recording were then sent to the four official pageant judges, who scored each contestant and submitted the scores by May 15 to Pageant Auditor J. Richard Sealscott. 

Businesses donating to the 2020 Peony Pageant Scholarship Fund were ABC Concrete-K & L Ready Mix,  Alexander & Bebout, American Legion Post 178, Bee Gee Realty & Auction Company, Cooper Farms Cooked Meats, Eaton, Elks Lodge 1197, First Federal Savings & Loan, Greif Bros., Keister & Baker Law Office, Mary Kay Independent Consultant Karen Pugh, Leland Smith Insurance, Raabe Ford Lincoln Mercury, Straley Realty & Auctioneers, Thrivent Financial, and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank.

First Runner-Up Victoria Snyder
Second Runner-Up Katie Strayer

Businesses and individuals who donated prizes and services to the contestants and Peony Pageant this year include The Good Earth, The Hair Chair in Spencerville, Impressions Beauty Salon, KAM Manufacturing-Stephanie Dawn, Laudick’s Jewelry, the Marge Purmort Memorial Grant, The Van Wert County Foundation, Maurice’s, McDonald’s, Scarves by Marilyn, Subway, Trends Hair Salon, Westwood Car Wash, Karen Pugh-independent beauty consultant, The Secret Garden Floral & Gifts in Convoy, Central Insurance Companies, Harold Debolt, Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks and Kim and Kylie Hohman, The Marsh Foundation, Touches of Time Antiques, Van Wert Carts & More, The Van Wert independent, Van Wert Optimist Club, Van Wert Rotary Club, Van Wert Service Club, and Times Bulletin Media.

Viewing links for the virtual pageant video can be found at or on the Peony Festival’s Facebook page. Area residents who access the links will be able to view the individual talent performances and crowning ceremonies featuring all six contestants. 

POSTED: 05/23/20 at 12:46 am. FILED UNDER: News