In June of 2013, I decided to try out for the London Strawberry Festival Pageant. As a contestant, I was required to submit a copy of my grade card, a record of my community involvement and an autobiography. The week of the festival started with the contestant meeting where I had my picture taken and met the other contestants. The pageant director explained how the pageant worked and the responsibilities that the winners would have placed upon them.
The other contestants were all nice, lovely girls. I was so excited to be trying out with them. The opportunity was truly an honor. Knowing that I could possibly be on the court with these amazing girls made me even more excited for the competition. On Wednesday, all of the Junior Miss and Miss contestants participated in an interview. I remember how professional everyone looked. In that moment, I realized that I could be spending the next year with any of the girls in this room. If anything, it prepared me for my interview and made me want to be on the court. Coming out of the interview, I felt like I had a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I was no longer nervous; I was ready for Thursday night’s pageant.
Finally, the day of the pageant had arrived. My Grandma Leslie did my hair while my Grandma Mary-Ann did my make-up. Once they were done, I put my dress on (with the help of my mom and grandma) and we were off to the festival. The pageant started at six and the miss contestants were the last to go. I was up first. I walked on the stage, just like we all had practiced, and answered the fishbowl questions. That night, every category, except for Miss, was crowned. Including my little sister, who had tried out for Junior Miss. Next was another long, nerve wracking wait. Almost 48 hours would pass before the Miss contestants would know the results. After the parade on Saturday, all of the remaining contestants arrived at the stage. We held hands as they called the winners up on the stage. Starting with third attendant, then second, then first and finally the dramatic pause before the Queen. When my name was called, I couldn’t believe it! I even cried! When they crowned me, I was proud to be representing London and I knew that the year to come would be very exciting and a true Fairy Tale.
Over the past year, I have visited several amazing festivals. Each of them had something unique. Traveling with my court has been awesome. I have created special friendships with everyone and I’ve learned so much about each of them; especially my sister, Skylar. We’ve gone from just being sisters to being best friends. She has traveled with me everywhere. I don’t know what I’d do without her. She reminds me of things I might forget and is always willing to model a new hairstyle that I came up with. Her honesty is what helps me buy a dress and decide on my hair and make-up. Skylar keeps me going.
I’ve gone to so many different events during my rein. Some have been local and others have been hours away, but I’ve enjoyed them all. A few of my favorites were the Milan Melon festival, the Marion Popcorn festival, the Geneva Grape Jamboree, the Woolybear festival, and the Ohio Swiss festival. I have traveled thousands of miles across Ohio. I’ve tried new flavors of ice cream such as grape, cantaloupe, watermelon, and zucchini bread. But, ice cream wasn’t the only food I’ve tried. The Marion Popcorn festival, for example, has many different flavors of popcorn. Some of which I didn’t even know existed, like Camo Crunch, Fruit Flavored and Tailgate Crunch. Not only have I tried several new foods, I’ve met new, amazing people and other queens too.
I must say that my favorite part of being The London Strawberry Festival Queen has been the little kids. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked to get a picture with someone just because I’m a princess. When I was crowned in June, I became a role model. I had girls of all ages counting on me to be a good role model. I hope I inspired them to be the best person they could possibly be, themselves.