12-07-2017 Hartford celebrates “A Fair to Remember” at their 2018 Miss and Mr. Hartford contest; Ang

Hartford celebrates “A Fair to Remember” at their 2018 Miss and Mr. Hartford contest; Angela Saldana crowned Miss Hartford 2018

By Annette Christie

The first of the Tri-City community Blossomtime contests took place on Sunday afternoon as the community of Hartford celebrated “A Fair to Remember” for the Van Buren County Youth Fair.

The contest which featured eight young ladies and three young men from the Hartford community, played out before a nearly sold out auditorium at Hartford High School.

At the end it was Angela Saldana crowned Miss Hartford and Garrett Brandt crowned Mr. Hartford.

2018 MISS HARTFORD… and her court were crowned Sunday afternoon. They are (from the left): 2nd Runner-up Kaylynn Owens; Miss Hartford Angela Saldana; 1st Runner-up Olivia Ziemer; and Miss Congeniality Arianna Dolge. Miss Hartford will represent her community at the Miss Blossomtime Pageant being held on Monday, March 12, 2018. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)


Angela Saldana, 17, is a senior attending Hartford High School. She is the daughter of Bert Saldana Sr. and Maria Saldana.  The future special education teacher plans to start out attending college locally before transferring to Grand Valley State University to complete her degree.

Saldana is a three-season athlete participating in cross country, basketball, and softball.  In cross country she earned 19 individual medals, was named the most valuable player and made second team all-conference her senior year.  Not just an athlete, Saldana is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, made the honor roll every year and has also been selected as the Student of the Week.

In her free time she enjoys making decorations with her grandmother and spending time with family.

Saldana said the thing she loves most about her community is all the cool activities and festivals.  She noted that the community has so much school spirit and how everyone supports one another.

Selected 1st runner-up was Olivia Ziemer.  The 18-year-old senior attending Hartford High School is also dual enrolled at Southwestern Michigan College.  The daughter of Robert and Michelle Ziemer, she plans to attend the University of Michigan to study nursing.  She hopes to eventually become a physician’s assistant.

2018 MR. HARTFORD… and his court were crowned on Sun-day, December 3 at Hartford High School Auditorium. They are (from the left): 1st Runner-up and Mr. Nice Guy Adam Wheeler; Mr. Hartford Garrett Brandt; and 2nd Runner-up Bobby Johnson. They will represent the community of Hartford at the Mr. Blossom-time Contest held on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)


In school she is involved in Student Council, National Honor Society, Leadership Training, soccer, volleyball, Science Olympiad, Spanish Club, Pep Club, and is a Student Representative on the Hartford School Board.

Ziemer is ranked number one in her class with a 4.0 GPA and has received numerous Academic Excellence Awards.  She has received the DAR Good Citizen Award and was selected as the 2017 Homecoming Queen.

She has volunteered for a mission trip, as a camp counselor, at blood drives, and as a tutor in Spanish.

Ziemer was selected for the photogenic award and the modeling award.  She also received a gift for selling the most tickets to the contest.

The title of 2nd runner-up was awarded to Kaylynn Owens.  The 17-year-old is a senior attending Hartford High School.  She is the daughter of Robert Owens and Lisa Owens.

Her future plans after high school are to attend Southwestern Michigan College and Western Michigan University to pursue a degree in teaching.  She plans to major in elementary education.

In high school she is involved in cheerleading and softball.  She is a member of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.  She has been named the most improved player in softball, has been named Homecoming Princess, and has a one-year certification in Early Childhood Careers and Education.

In her free time, Owens enjoys crafting with her mom, singing, watching Netflix and shopping.

She has volunteered for the homeless shelter, Christmas Shoebox Ministry, Treasures for Teens, food drives, and the Strawberry Festival.

Selected as Miss Congeniality by her sister contestants was Arianna Dolge.  She is the daughter of Ronni Dolge and Tim Mizwicki.

The 17-year-old senior attends Watervliet High School.  Her future plans are to attend college to study social work.  She also plans to serve her country in the United States Air Force.

In high school she is involved in soccer and has received academic awards.  She attends the Road to Life Church and is involved in Bible study there.

The other contestants included   Hailey Marbut who was in the top four, Mariah Chancellor, Adriana Davila, and Cecilia Perales.

The contest began with a video starring outgoing royalty Mariel Hallgren and Hunter Ackerman as they informed those in attendance about the history and highlights of Hartford.

Co-emcees for the event were Ally Sinclair and Timothy Taylor.

The chairperson for the contest was Taylor Prestige. She and Hartford Pageant Organization President Amanda Williamson introduced the judges as follows: Lisa Walters, former Miss Baroda and Miss Blossomtime; Mike Stemm and Shelley Hartman. Mr. Hartford judges were as follows: Ryan Rainey, former Mr. South Haven and Mr. Blossomtime; Joseph Baumeister, former Mr. Hartford; and Rochelle Ulleg.

Prior to the formal presentation, the contestants performed a dance and then took part in a fashion show segment for the girls and a swimsuit segment for the boys.

The family of Venessa Garcia, Miss Hartford 2005, presented a community service scholarship in her memory.  Garcia died tragically in 2008.  The $300 scholarship in her name was awarded to contestant Olivia Ziemer.  Garcia’s mother then received the queen’s sorority sash.  The Blossom Queen Sorority is comprised of former community queens that have completed their reign successfully.  It now has a membership of 325 going back as far as a queen from the year 1952.

It was also announced by Cassandra Goss, 2nd runner-up to Miss Hartford in 2013 that a scholarship would be given in memory of Hali Burchfield, Miss Congeniality of that year.  Burchfield died tragically following a car accident in February of this year.

Mr. Hartford 2018 is Garrett Brandt

The Mr. Hartford contest featured contestants Bobby Johnson, Adam Wheeler, and Garrett Brandt.

Garrett Brandt, son of Gregg Brandt and Laura Burfield was selected as Mr. Hartford.  The 17-year-old attending Hartford High School is a senior.  Following high school he plans to attend either Alma College or Western Michigan University to study engineering.  He hopes to one day become an aerospace engineer for NASA.

He is involved in football, basketball, track, baseball, and Student Council.

Adam Wheeler was a dual title winner Sunday afternoon with Mr. Nice Guy and 1st runner-up. He is the son of Tam Wheeler.  The 17-year-old senior attending Hartford High School plans to attend college to pursue a degree in sports management.

He is involved in baseball, football, band, and National Honor Society.  Wheeler is also dual enrolled at Southwestern Michigan College.

Bobby Johnson was named 2nd runner-up. The 17-year-old senior attending Hartford High School plans to attend college to pursue a career in medicine.  He will attend Grand Valley State University.

Johnson is the son of Bobby and Rachel Johnson.  In high school he is involved in track, football, powerlifting, National Honor Society, Student Council, and Pep Club.

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