The first Miss Fallbrook Pageant was held June 18, 1947 at the old Mission Theater on Hawthorne Street.  There were just 4 contestants.  Each contestant received prizes of merchandise contributed by Fallbrook business people.[1]  General qualifications to enter were that the young lady had to be between the age of 16 to 19, have never been married, and resided within the Fallbrook Union High School District.  Contestants were judged on grace, intelligence, poise, and stage presence.

Miss Fallbrook originated in 1947 with an invitation by the San Diego County Fair to send a Fallbrook entry to the new Fairest of The Fair beauty contest. The San Diego County Fair dates from 1880, but it did not always have a beauty contest. Suspended for several years during World War II because of gas rationing, the County Fair resumed at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 1947 with the first Fairest of the Fair beauty contest.[2]  The winner of the Fairest of the Fair was crowned Miss San Diego County and she advanced to the Miss California contest.  Prizes of merchandise and scholarships were awarded at each level.

The first Miss Fallbrook was 17-year-old Robyn Sikking in 1947, a junior at Fallbrook High.  Robyn was the daughter of Robyn Sikking, the well-known ceramic artist.  As Miss Fallbrook, Robyn was awarded a contract to participate in the Fairest of the Fair contest beginning the following Monday at the Fox theater in San Diego.  Sikking would later become Mrs. Elliot Stuart and own Robyn’s Realty in Fallbrook.  She was always proud of having been the first, Miss Fallbrook. 

The Miss Fallbrook Pageant evolved immensely over the years.  Officially the contest was called the Fairest of the Fair, but the winner became Miss Fallbrook.  Initially, Fallbrook did not have a contest planned. The County Fair sent a committee to help quickly organize the 1947 Miss Fallbrook event.  Fallbrook’s Pioneer Day celebration, which started in 1945, was already an important event.  The whole town voted for the Queen of Pioneer Day.  The method for choosing Fallbrook’s entry to the Del Mar Fairest of the Fair varied during first few years.  In a couple of cases, the same girl wore both crowns.

Sponsorship of the Miss Fallbrook pageant was confusing from the start.  The Chamber of Commerce was fully occupied with the huge Pioneer Day festivities which were held Memorial Day weekend.  The County Fair was pushing to get a Fallbrook entry for their Fairest of the Fair pageant in June, so the two beauty contests were occurring on top of each other, with both queens usually coming from Fallbrook High School.   In a couple of the early events, the town’s Fairest of the Fair entry was voted by the high school senior class.  In 1951, without an adult sponsoring organization, a Miss Fallbrook contest was not even held.  Donna Lincoln, a senior at Fallbrook High, was voted the 1951 Queen of Pioneer Day, but that contest had not followed the Fairest of the Fair judging rules.  In 1952, the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce organized a Miss Fallbrook contest at the high school auditorium.  Lynn Dean, a 16-year-old Fallbrook high school junior was crowned the 1952 Miss Fallbrook.
In 1953, the Vista Junior Woman’s Club stepped in to help and held the Miss Fallbrook contest in Vista.  The Fallbrook Woman’s Club formed their own Fallbrook Junior Woman’s Club in January 1954.[3]  The Fallbrook & Vista Junior Woman’s Clubs co-sponsored the May 1954 Fairest of the Fair preliminary with 13 girls vying to be Miss Fallbrook at a “Sock Hop” held at the Vista Woman’s Club.[4]  The Miss Fallbrook contest came back home under the Fallbrook Junior Woman’s Club sponsorship.  From 1955 to 1960 the Miss Fallbrook contests were held at the Fallbrook Woman’s Clubhouse on East Juniper (now Mission) Rd.  The 1959 contest with just 8 contestants was won by Karen Savey, a 17-year-old from Pauma Valley and a cheerleader at Fallbrook High school.

During the 1960s, the Miss Fallbrook pageant saw dramatic changes.   The Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce took over sponsorship of the contest for Fallbrook’s entry to the Fairest of the Fair Pageant.  The Fairest of the Fair preliminary contest was held each Spring during the 60s in the new Mission theater on Main Ave. in time for the Del Mar Fair.   The annual Fallbrook Pioneer Day celebration had ceased.  In its place the first Avocado Festival was held on October 3 1963.[5]  This presented some of the same conflicts of interest previously experienced by the Pioneer Day Queen contest.  In 1969, the Chamber decided that Miss Fallbrook would automatically become the Queen of the Avocado Festival in October.[6]   In the early 1960s, girls entering the Miss Fallbrook contest were asked to submit a swimsuit photo which was published in the local newspaper, along with a short bio, ahead of the pageant.  After some objections, the newspaper stopped publishing the swimsuit photos, and used professional portraits instead.  But it would be 1987 before the swimsuit competition was eliminated from the pageant.[7]

The Miss Fallbrook pageant grew in popularity under the Chamber of Commerce sponsorship.  Sellout crowds were typically expected either at the Mission theater or Potter Jr. High.  In January of each year, public announcements went out asking for entries.  Contestants were asked to sign up a local business to sponsor them to cover minor expenses.  The Chamber helped by recruiting sponsors for the girls.  Another significant change was that the Chamber appointed a coach and scheduled workshops for the contestants to develop grace, poise and to rehearse their roles in the pageant.  The pageant became an important fundraiser for the Chamber which continued to host the annual Spring event from 1970 through 1990.[8]  

In 1980, the Chamber trying another improvement, added talent as a category to be judged.   When 17-year-old Deborah Parry was crowned Miss Fallbrook, the County Fair ruled her ineligible to enter the Fairest of the Fair contest because judging on talent was not permitted under the County Fair rules.[9]  However, Deborah Parry still reigned as Miss Fallbrook throughout the year, attending many Chamber of Commerce public events and being Queen of the Avocado Festival.  The Chamber agreed to follow the Fairest of the Fair scoring system for the 1981 beauty contest.  Iin 1991, Soroptimist International of Fallbrook took over sponsorship of the Miss Fallbrook pageant.

No Miss Fallbrook had ever won in the Del Mar Fairest of the Fair since it began in 1947, although a couple of Fallbrook girls were runners up.  The long drought was finally broken in 1995 when Miss Fallbrook, Kyah Lattimer, a 20-year-old Palomar college student was crowned Fairest of the Fair. 

The County Fairest of the Fair beauty pageant ended after 2003 because of a legal dispute over the scoring system and the winner.[10]   In recent years, The Miss Fallbrook pageant has been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Fallbrook Village.

Tom Frew,
FHS Historian


[1] Fallbrook Enterprise June 20, 1947

[2] San Diego History Center, The Journal of San Diego History, Summer 1980, by Bill Arballo

[3] Fallbrook Enterprise January 22, 1954

[4] Fallbrook Enterprise May 28, 1954

[5] Fallbrook Enterprise Oct 3, 1963

[6] Fallbrook Enterprise March 6, 1969

[7] Fallbrook Enterprise January 22, 1987

[8] Fallbrook Enterprise Feb 8, 1968

[9] Fallbrook Enterprise May 8, 1980

[10] San Diego History Center, The Journal of San Diego History, Summer 1980, by Bill Arballo