Fairest of the Fair 1969 – Patricia Clark Taylor

Ph.D. Recipient. Attorney.

Ceiling-shattering leader. 

1969 Fairest of the Fair winner. 

All of these describe the fascinating, brilliant, accomplished Patricia Clark Taylor.

With a passion for the Putnam County Fair that was familial, Patricia’s pageant spark was ignited by exposure to the event as a child.

She reflected, “My family always participated in fair activities, and we were in attendance for most days. I saw the Fairest of Fair early on, and eventually, my mom entered me into the Tiny Tot contest when I was very young. I was always aware of the competition and became more interested as I grew older.” 

Though her childhood was spent immersed in the fair and her interest in the competition grew, Patricia relayed the shock felt at being named the winner.

She quipped, “I was very surprised to win. I was always a bit of a tomboy and never considered myself pageant material. I was very surprised when I won.”

Winning may have been unexpected, but Patricia took her crown seriously and used the position to benefit the community through every possible avenue.

“Having a leadership role in the rest of the fair activities, presenting ribbons, and congratulating winners in other activities were among my favorite aspects of winning Fairest of the Fair.” 

She continued, “My family has been in the Upper Cumberland for many generations, and we’ve always felt it a responsibility to serve and be part of community activities like the Putnam County Fair.”

Following her victory, Patricia pursued a life of service and education that included receiving her Doctorate of Jurisprudence, becoming the director of the University of Tennessee Center for Government, practicing as a private attorney, and eventually breaking ground as the first female Tennessee Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture, accomplishments foreshadowed during Patricia’s tenure as the winner of the Fairest of the Fair.

Looking back, she sees her crowning and the subsequent leadership role it provided as transformative, something any young participant could benefit from.

“I definitely look back fondly on winning. I kept a scrapbook during those years, and in it, I put photos of being crowned and crowning the next winner. Fairest of the Fair made an impact on my life, and I would encourage any young lady to participate, not because she’s beautiful or wants to make pageants her life, but for the well-rounded experience it provides and the opportunity to learn new skills along the way.”

Patricia Clark Taylor uses the lessons learned during the competition, and a resolute drive for greatness, to live as a testament to the potential of the Upper Cumberland and the power of Fairest of the Fair winners to lead and inspire others.

– by Andrew Buckner, photo by Cris Stroud


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