Neighbours: Fair queen looks to the future as a florist | News Sun

KENDALLVILLE — Taking on the 4-H flower project for a decade opened up a career path for Miss Noble County reigning Ally Barker.

The newly crowned queen already works as a florist and hopes to one day open her own business.

Barker won her Miss Noble County title in a June 26 pageant at Central Noble High School in her first-ever pageant competition along with five other contestants. Her yard includes first runner-up Braya Clouse, second runner-up Darian Manth, and third runner-up and Miss Congeniality Adara Bell.

Contestants gave a one-minute speech, answered a question on stage, and modeled both evening gowns and business attire. Barker talked about “Be the Change” in her one-minute speech, she said.

Barker has been a 4-H member for 10 years and the daughter of Joe and Kathy Barker of Kendallville. You do not need to be a 4-H member to enter the contest.

“It’s not required, but it doesn’t hurt to be in 4-H,” she says. “I’m excited to promote our own fair and tell people about different things.”

Barker credits 4-H with giving her public speaking skills that helped her in the contest.

“We talk with the judges and have to be in front of people,” she said of her 4-H experience. “You absolutely have to be comfortable in front of people.”

Barker’s large extended family produced other queens of Nobleshire, which inspired her to attempt the crown as well. Barker is a recent graduate of East Noble High School, where she was in show choir, tennis, cheerleading and several clubs.

Barker is a summer intern at Ruby Moon Floral in LaOtto. She puts her knowledge of flowers and plants, acquired over 10 years in the 4-H flower project, into practice at the flower shop, pulling weeds in two large fields, planting new plants and making flower arrangements for weddings and other events.

“I want to be a florist,” she says. “I’m going to Purdue Fort Wayne to major in business and marketing. I want to open my own flower business in the future.

Barker said she originally viewed nursing as a career path, like her mother, but changed her mind when she saw how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting her mother’s profession. Her years in 4-H helped her discover that she loves arranging flowers for weddings and funerals in “an industry that can never be replaced.”

Flower arrangement focuses on the centerpiece, the size and shape of the table, whether it is symmetrical or not. Most are triangles,” she said.

Barker likes her job best when she does the flowers for big weddings. She may have to create 11 or 12 bouquets for the bridesmaids and many compotes for the tables.

The queen’s favorite flowers are freesia and lisianthus, a flower similar to a rose but with fewer petals,

“It’s a sturdy flower but looks very fragile,” she said.

She will reign over the Noble County Community Fair this week and represent Noble County at the Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant in January 2023. There is no talent contest at the local pageant as the State Fair Pageant does not include no skill requirement.

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