Richelle Kastenson isn't your typical college student. While most are cramming for exams, going to class and relaxing on weekends, she travels the state promoting county fairs.
An education major at UW-Whitewater, Kastenson was named the 2012-13 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs in January and has been wearing that title ever since. She is the face and voice of the state's county fairs and participates in everything from the fairs themselves to state speaking engagements.
"My favorite part of the job is meeting all kinds of people," Kastenson said. "I get to do so many things, even random activities like limbo with a llama and cricket spitting. It is fun to see the different traditions at each county fair."
Kastenson traveled extensively last summer, visiting most of the 76 fairs throughout Wisconsin. That sometimes meant eight fairs a week and two to four hours of daily driving.
"It did get to be a lot at times, but it was completely worth it," she said.
Kastenson isn't a stranger to Wisconsin county fairs. She grew up on a farm in Racine County, where she and her siblings were always active in the county fair, showing and volunteering. Her parents first met at the Racine County Fair.
Kastenson also served as a Wisconsin State Fair intern, and knew that the Fairest of the Fairs position was next in line.
"I have such strong family ties to the Fairest of the Fair program. My sister, cousin and I all served as Racine County Fairest of the Fair, and I enjoyed it so much that becoming the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs was one of my biggest goals," she said.
Kastenson's experience at UW-Whitewater was important in landing the title.
"My time at Whitewater has set me up to be a good social communicator and planner -- both major skills in acquiring the Fairest of the Fairs crown. UW-Whitewater really put me in the right position," said Kastenson.
Her schedule has slowed down for the fall, but she is still attending various events to speak about her experiences.
Kastenson is student teaching in Waterford with the third-grade class, and then will finish up in Sweden, student teaching in Umea. She will graduate in December with a bachelor's degree in education.
For more information on the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair program, visit http://www.wifairs.com/wifairest.asp.