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Shayla Sanderson is honored by Fairest of the Fair organizers

  • Shayla Sanderson, left, a 16-year director of the Anderson County Fair Fairest of the Fair pageants, was honored Monday night after it was announced she is stepping down. She was surprised with the honor of having the $1,000 scholarship Fairest of the Fair winners received named after her. Showing her a representative of what the new scholarship will look like is Monday night’s master of ceremonies Jordan Bowling. - Ken Leinart

Anderson County Fairest of the Fair Director Shayla Sanderson was honored Monday night.

After 16 years, Sanderson is stepping down. To honor her, the $1,000 scholarship given to Fairest of the Fair winners has been renamed the Shayla Sanderson Scholarship.

Sanderson began her journey with the Anderson County Fair family in 2006 when she was crowned Princess Fairest of the Fair.

She then went on to win the 2008 Junior Fairest of the Fair and 2010 Fairest of the Fair.

She represented the Anderson County Fair at the Tennessee Association of Fairs’ state Fairest of the Fair pageant in January 2011 where she placed in the Top 10.

After crowning her successor, Sanderson began serving on the Fairest of the Fair board and volunteering with the pageant each year.

In 2015, she was asked to become director, serving as the youngest Fairest of the Fair director in the state of Tennessee.

While chaperoning and mentoring the Fairest of the Fair winners, Sanderson was also still competing herself — including placing in the Top 15 at Miss Tennessee USA and competing for Miss Tennessee America as Miss McMinnville.

While working on her pageant career, she was also working on her professional career.

She earned her bachelor of science in education with a Kinesiology degree from the University of Tennessee, and then her master’s in education from Lincoln Memorial University.

Her career moved her to Nashville. After a long-distance relationship as Fairest of the Fair director, Sanderson told the Fairest of The Fair organizers that this is her last year as director for the Anderson County Fairest of the Fair pageants.