GREENFIELD — Best friends Shailynn Steeno and Kynsey Hasty grew up helping out at the annual Hancock County 4-H queen pageant, watching in awe as the contestants glided across the stage in sequin and satin dresses.

The local teens came full circle Saturday when they were each crowned as royalty at this year’s pageant at Trinity Park Church in Greenfield.

Shailynn was crowned queen and Kynsey was crowned princess while three of the 11 contestants were named to the queen’s court — Katie Holmes, Aerin Hubbell and Amelia Stone.

Shailynn Steeno poses for photos after being crowned the 2024 Hancock County 4-H Queen. Saturday, June 15, 2024. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

Alyssa Coffey was named Miss Congeniality, an honor voted upon by the pageant contestants.

“I am so thankful for them choosing me. There was a lot of amazing girls, and everyone has such a great personality,” she said.

Kynsey also had positive things to say about her fellow contestants.

“We all mostly know each other through 4-H,” said Kynsey, who is embarking on her ninth year in 4-H, where she’s focused mostly on foods, child development and crafts.

She and the queen and her court will spend every day strolling the grounds at this year’s fair, which runs June 18-28 at the Hancock County Fairgrounds in Greenfield.

Shailynn said it’s surreal to think of herself and her best friend Kynsey attending the fair with sashes across their chests and crowns atop their heads.

Shailynn Steeno waves to the crowd moments after being crowned the 2024 Hancock County 4-H Queen. Saturday, June 15, 2024. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

“My aunt was the queen at our pageant one year, and her mom was queen one year. I grew up around everyone doing it,” said Shailynn, clutching a bouquet of red roses shortly after the results were announced at Saturday’s pageant.

Not only are she and Kynsey best friends, their moms and grandmas are best friends as well.

Both part of multi-generation Hancock County farming families, the girls have grown up embracing their time in 4-H and spending long days at the county fair each summer.

“Shailynn has always loved being at the fair every waking moment, so this is just going to take it to the next level,” said her mom, Krista Steeno.

“She loves to watch the animal shows and doing the projects and serving the ice cream at the Pioneer Building,” said her mom, whose family’s Plank Family Farms runs the homemade ice cream maker at the fair.

Shailynn Steeno being crowned the 2024 Hancock County 4-H Queen. Saturday, June 15, 2024. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

Steeno can remember her daughter and Kynsey helping out at the 4-H Fair queen pageant each year, whether it’s been passing out programs or helping the contestants get ready to go on stage.

“There was actually a picture the Daily Reporter posted when Shailynn was a baby in diapers on the stage watching all the queens. She’s always been here,” she said.

Steeno said those deep roots will make serving as royalty at this year’s fair even more special for her daughter and her friend.

“This is going to be a fun week for them,” she said.

Before this year’s queen and her court were announced, last year’s Hancock County 4-H Fair queen Emily Grant paid tribute to Lindsay Locker — a former fair queen contestant who died in a car crash in November at the age of 17.

Pageant contestants were each given bright pink shirts this year that said, “Be You,” with Lindsey’s initials printed within angel’s wings on the sleeve.

“Lindsey was truly someone who lived the life she loved,” said Emily.

“If you knew her, you know she always lived life to the fullest in every way possible. Be a little like Lindsay every day,” she told this year’s pageant contestants. “Live life to the fullest and be you in everything you do.”