Kristen Free was overwhelmed with emotion as she was crowned Miss Maple City 2012 on Saturday night at Main Street School.
Free, 21, was still almost speechless several minutes after the announcement.
"This is my first pageant I've ever done," she said.
"I'm just overwhelmed," she added. "I'm so appreciative to everyone. So many people have been helpful to me and taught me things and made everything run so smooth. I can't express my gratitude enough."
Free is the daughter of Chuck and Sandy Free of Frankfort. She attends The Ohio State University.
Her platform was "Living As A Light for the Future Generations."
Her Lil Sis was Erin Wise, daughter of Todd and Tina Wise of Norwalk.
Free described the moment was she was named Miss Maple City.
"I just had a feeling of overwhelming joy," she said. "My hands were shaking and I looked out to my mom and she was crying. I just thank God for it."
Free said the competition was exciting between the 11 contestants.
"I have met so many great girls in the past 10 hours," she said. "I've made many friendships. I'm so thankful."
Free will receive a $750 scholarship for being the winner.
Free will now represent Norwalk at The Miss Ohio Scholarship Pageant in Mansfield in June.
"It's such an honor to be able to represent this community," she said.
The state winner will then compete for the title of Miss America.
Saturday's first runner-up was Camille Dyquiangco of Dublin, Calif. She will receive a $100 scholarship.
The second runner-up was Alicia Huyghe of Uhrichsville. She will receive a $75 scholarship.
Third runner-up was Kara Beth Wagner of Wheelersburg. She earned a $50 scholarship.
Winning $25 scholarships were Mahogany Fleming of Cincinnati, who was the talent winner and Wagner, swimwear winner.
Other contestants included Allison Vance of Mt. Gilead, Shayle Welch of Findlay, Loren Baker of Mansfield, Alyssa Phillips of Cygnet, and Samantha Hartings of Coldwater.
Norwalk's Chelsea Aiello also competed, representing the Maple City. She is the daughter of John Aiello of Norwalk and Martha Aiello of Tiffin.
Entertainment for the evening was provided by Miss Maple City 2011 Amber Bussa, Class Act Dance Studio of Norwalk and Clyde and The Miss Maple City Lil Sisses.
Judges were Miss Maple City 1999 Eleni (Giazikis) Nicozisis of Hopewell, N.J., Natalie Heilman Clark of Ashland, Andrea (Massey) Strom of Plymouth, Smith Runyan of Delaware, Dr. Angela (Falter) Thomas of Tiffin and Dave Schild of Norwalk.
Auditors were Tim Smudz of Wadsworth and Jan Moll of Brunswick.
Emcees for the show were Wil Vickery Jr. and Bussa.
Each contestant competed in several categories including on-stage questions, swimwear, talent and evening wear.
Bussa perfomed a few numbers herself.
The event, which normally takes places in February, was held in November this year to take advantage of the milder weather.
The program was co-directed by Vickery and Dolly Ruffing.
Jackie Mayer, Miss America 1963, was in attendance.