Three generations of Dairy Royalty
Grandmother Robin Taydus, mother Natalie Lucks, and daughter Elizabeth Lucks have all reigned as Warren County Dairy Princess.
Robin was the third ever Dairy Princess crowned in Warren County in 1972. Natalie was crowned in 1992. Elizabeth is the current Dairy Princess.
“It’s rare to have a second- and third-generation (dairy princess),” said Natalie.
Princesses reign from May to July of the following year.
“June is ice cream month, so they need you then,” said Natalie.
To be crowned the dairy princess, you must be somewhat associated with the dairy industry.
“It’s getting harder and harder to find girls on the farm, so they’ve stretched the qualifications (some),” said Natalie. “(Warren County) didn’t have a princess the past two years.”
You must be a daughter, granddaughter, niece or sister of a dairy farmer, farm manager, herdsman or employed by a dairy farm. You can also be the owner of your own dairy farm. You must also be between the ages of 16 and 24 and be single. There is a dress code which is quite modest.
There are also alternates and Dairy Maids crowned, ages 13 to 15, as well as the 7 to 12 age group crowned Little Miss.
Elizabeth was crowned Little Miss when she was 13. She was crowned first for the 2015 to 2016 year and the 2016 and 2017 year. Natalie was crowned as a Dairy Maid for the year 1987 to 1988. Little Miss and Dairy Maid titles were not around when Robin was crowned.
“It’s not just about a crown and a pretty face,” said Natalie.
The point of a Dairy Princess is to “promote (dairy) products and agriculture,” said Natalie. “It’s important for us to educate consumers not only about dairy, but the farmer and how the country would be lost without (dairy).”
Elizabeth has been involved with the dairy industry her whole life, and currently works at her grandparents’ dairy farm, Taydus Dairy, in Pittsfield.
The Taydus Dairy farm has been around for five generations.
Her father’s parents’ dairy farm, Lucks Dairy, has been around for four generations.
“It’s an honor to serve our dairy industry,” said Robin.
Elizabeth just arrived home from seminar, a requirement to be Dairy Princess.
Seminar is normally in July and is a gathering of the county dairy princesses and alternates across Pennsylvania. It’s a week of learning how to answer questions, and how to prepare for state pageant.
The princesses are taught poise, etiquette, and, obviously, dairy education. They are taught to know their audience when answering questions and in doing promotions. Promotions are done to increase awareness and knowledge of the industry. Depending on how many promotion events and which they choose to do, there are incentives such as scholarships.
“The key message is ‘don’t forget to get your three a day,'” said Elizabeth.
“If you look up the nutrition, you’re supposed to have three dairy products a day,” said Natalie. “A bowl of cereal, yogurt as a snack, a cheese stick, or a late night snack of ice cream.”
The state pageant will be held Thursday, Sept. 19, to Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Red Lion Hotel in Harrisburg.
“The judges watch them from the time they walk in,” said Natalie.
There are requirements to be eligible to participate in the state pageant. You must prepare a speech, a presentation, do the dairy promotions, take a dairy knowledge quiz, create a scrapbook and a recipe. Optional elements include doing a radio spot and creating a poster display.
The princesses are interviewed by the judges, perform skits and speeches, and take a test on the first evening. The actual pageant isn’t until that Saturday evening.
The top seven princesses and two alternates are crowned during the pageant. The judges also choose the top two skits and speeches to be performed during the pageant. Scholarships are awarded during the pageant.
The princesses, who first meet at seminar, also collectively vote for a Miss Congeniality.
The local Dairy Princess is sponsored by Warren County Dairy Promotion (https://www.facebook.com/Warren-County-Dairy-Princess-and-Promotion-221698724550489/), under the umbrella of Pennsylvania Dairy Princess and Promotion Services, Inc.
Elizabeth graduated from Youngsville High School this year and will attend Houghton College in Caneadea, N.Y.
“It’s been one crazy year,” said Natalie. “Dairy Princess, graduation, and now college.”