Festival Queen contestant forms volunteer group to help the community
The selection of the Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen is a long-standing tradition that dates back to 1960, the year before Urbanna Days became the Urbanna Oyster Festival. The first Festival Queen was crowned on a flatbed trailer on the day of the festival.
The tradition of crowning a Little Miss Spat, in addition to a Festival Queen, began in 1966.
As the Oyster Festival evolved over the years, so has the selection process for the Queen and Little Miss Spat. It originally was a type of beauty pageant, but is now a scholarship competition for the Queen contestants. The judging is based on a community service project, grade point average, a judges’ interview, a written response to a random question, and overall participation. The judges are not residents of Middlesex County.
The Queen competition starts early in the summer and extends until the crowning takes place on Friday of the Oyster Festival.
The crowning of the Queen at the upcoming 56th Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 1, at 4 p.m. at Taber Park on Rappahannock Avenue. The Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition awards scholarships to the top three Queen finishers.
The Oyster Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, November 1-2.
Each Queen contestant wrote a press release on her project and background, which will appear in the Sentinel.
As in the past, Queen contestants must be a high school senior and a resident of Middlesex County. Each Queen contestant selects a girl in the first grade to compete as her Little Miss Spat (a “spat” is a baby oyster). The Little Miss Spat finalists are selected independently of the Queen and are judged based on their participation at an ice cream social, a judges’ interview, overall participation, and written response to a question, which they also illustrate.
The group consisted of over 25 members and helped in ways ranging from food donations to child watching. “I was overwhelmed by the goodness within people,” said Shaw after she received numerous messages of encouragement. In total, the group accumulated over 150 volunteer hours and helped in multiple areas.
Aside from simply helping people, another goal of the project was to instill a sense of volunteerism in adults and children, including Shaw’s Little Miss Spat contestant, Kayleigh Moye. “I think she really enjoyed it and learned a lot,” said Shaw.
Kayleigh is a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School who loves every subject. She is the daughter of Lauren and Christopher Moye. She likes dancing, and arts and crafts. She loves both dogs and cats and volunteered at the Middlesex Animal Shelter. “She is wonderful and she always has something to talk about,” said Shaw. Moye hopes to grow up and become a teacher so she can help children.
Shaw is the daughter of Donna Armento and sibling to John, George, and Fiona Shaw. She is a senior at Christchurch School where she leads her classmates as a prefect and National Honor Society president.
Along with consistently being on the headmaster’s list, she spends time volunteering on school community service trips and working with the sustainability task force to make the school campus “greener.”
She is also a Seahorse volleyball and soccer player.
Having traveled internationally on a sailboat for 10 years, Shaw hopes to study international relations at Duke University and continue to travel.
Shaw reflected happily on her project, “Regardless of the outcome of the Queen competition, I have learned many things from this project and it has helped me become closer with my family and grow into a confident young woman.”
Little Miss Spat sponsors for 2013 include River Birch Nursery, Florist & Gifts, Ryman’s A/C and Heating, Unique Golf Carts and Urbanna Builders’ Supply Co.