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Festival Queen contestants are active in sports

Hope Britton and Ashley Figg
Devin Cooke and Katrina Reed

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 queen was crowned on a flatbed trailer on the day of the festival.

The tradition of crowning a Little Miss Spat along with the Queen began in 1966.

As the Oyster Festival has evolved over the years, so has the selection of the Queen and Little Miss Spat. It originally was a type of beauty pageant, but is now a scholarship competition for the Queen contestants, who also must complete a community service project.

The Queen competition starts early in the summer and extends until the crowning takes place on Friday of Oyster Festival.

The crowning of the Queen at the upcoming 51st Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 7, at 4 p.m. in Taber Park on Rappahannock Avenue in Urbanna. The Oyster Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, November 7-8.

Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition awards scholarships to the top three Queen finishers and Miss Congeniality.

The scholarships are available through the generosity of local sponsors including, BB&T Bank, Bethpage Camp-Resort, Bons Secours, C&F Bank, Colonial Virginia Bank, EVB Bank, Grey’s Point Camp, Rappahannock Concrete Corporation, Rosegill LLC, and Thurston Properties.

Additional sponsors for the Little Miss Spat Competition include Bristow-Faulkner Funeral Home, GLF Lawn Care/Landscaping and Urbanna Auto Marine Sales.

The 2008 Urbanna Oyster Festival sponsors include the Bank of Lancaster, BB&T Bank, Bons Secours, C&F Bank, EVB Bank, GEICO, Kathleen M. Hall CPA, Rappahannock General Hospital, Revere Gas and Appliance, Rosegill Development LLC, The Allen Group Inc., The National Guard, and the Virginia Lottery.

Queen profiles
The Southside Sentinel is profiling two Queen contestants and their Little Miss Spat contestants each week. The Queen contestants wrote a press release on their projects and a brief biography on themselves.

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.

This year’s queen contestants, in alphabetical order, and their Little Miss Spat hopefuls include: Ashae Burnett and Lyndsey Holmes, Larkin Epstein and Amber Daughtry, Ashley Figg and Hope Britton, Kristin Jessie and Alexis Davis, Katlin Major and Abigail Purcell, Lindsay Matthews and Lyndsey Hudson, Kaytlyn Miller and Colleen Rae, Mona’ Peters and Arviet Underwood, Katrina Reed and Devin Cooke, Lamia Robinson and Dashanti Redmond, Whitney Walton and Avery Walden, and Savannah Williams and Samantha Wright. Caroline Painter also is participating as a Little Miss Spat contestant.

Ashley Figg
Ashley Figg, a senior at Middlesex High School and an Oyster Festival Queen contestant from Hartfield, partnered with the Urbanna and Deltaville libraries to help with the Summer Reading Program. Figg chose her community service project because she remembers the impact the Summer Reading Program had on her when she was a child.

For her project, Figg started with a meeting with library officials Sherry Inabinet and Alison Towles, who handed her a list of events. From that point on, Figg helped with story time, created an original craft for the participants to make, helped with other crafts, and kept reading logs updated.

“The major part of the program was the grand finale,” said Figg. “I helped with planning and setting up for the end of the three-month program. This was definitely the most rewarding part of the whole project.”

Figg collected and provided prizes for each participant. Moo’s Diner, Bethpage Miniature Golf and Twice Told Tales were some of the local supporters. There were over 140 participants in the Summer Reading Program, and each child received a prize.

“I learned from my community service project that the accessibility of books plays a major role in reading for a child,” Figg said. “I not only wanted to help the children reach their reading goals, but give parents a chance to pick up successful reading techniques to encourage their children to continue to enjoy reading at home.”

Throughout high school Figg has shown interest in community service by being actively involved in Teachers for Tomorrow, as a class representative in the Student Government Association, as secretary of the Future Educators of America, as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Leo Club and Future Business Leaders of America, and as vice president of the Spanish Club.

Figg is a four-year member of the Charger Yearbook Staff. She helped create Middlesex’s first full color yearbook. She was the business manager for two years and is currently the executive editor for the 2009 yearbook.

Figg has been tapped for the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. She has maintained a 3.8 GPA or higher to make the Superintendent’s Honor Roll all four years of high school, and has only missed one day of school since kindergarten. She is in the Middlesex Gifted Program.

She has played volleyball, basketball, and softball for the Lady Chargers. She was a captain of her volleyball and softball teams her sophomore year. Figg has played five years of volleyball, and is currently a captain of the varsity team. She has played in the volleyball state tournament and was named to the district All-Academic team. She has played softball for four years, also playing in the state tournament, and being named All-Academic.

Figg is a member of Lower United Methodist Church and the youth group. She is currently employed at Coffee Creations and Endless Summer.

After high school, Figg plans to attend a private college in Virginia to study interdisciplinary studies, radiology or speech pathology. 

She is the daughter of Edwin Jr. and Deborah Figg of Hartfield. She is the granddaughter of Pauline Figg and the late Edwin Figg of Hartfield, and Lucius and Josephine Foster of Locust Hill. She has two siblings, Vail and Lauren.
Her Little Miss Spat is Hope Britton, a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. Hope is the daughter of Craig and Lyn Britton of Hartfield. She is active in gymnastics and swimming. She also has a love for animals and bugs. Hope’s favorite things to do in her free time is fishing with her dad and playing in her tree fort.

Katrina Reed
Katrina Reed, a senior at Middlesex High School, volunteered at the Middlesex Animal Shelter where she spent numerous hours working with Chief Animal Control Officer Ricky Warren. She played with and walked the animals and tried to help those that were in need. “I have always had a special place in my heart for animals and I wanted to share that love with Middlesex County residents,” she said.

Another part of Reed’s community service project was a dog show held at Taber Park in Urbanna on August 9. Many that came to the dog show enjoyed themselves and had fun putting their dogs in different categories, ranging from “most vocal” to “best trick.”

Since the show was successful, Reed was asked to do another dog show next year. “I am happy that one dog and two puppies were adopted,” she said. “Hopefully, my project has brought awareness to the community and will enable other animals to be adopted into loving homes.”

Reed will continue to help raise money to go toward the animal charity “Friends for Life,” and she hopes more people will know about the Middlesex shelter and adopt a dog.

Reed has been on the honor roll for the past four years at MHS and the National Honor Roll.

She also is active at school, having participated in both junior varsity and varsity football cheerleading and basketball, where she was captain of her varsity team.

She was also a member of the track team her sophomore year, where she qualified for district and regional competitions.

Reed has also been on the MHS competition cheerleading team for the past three years.

She is a member of Building Black Achievers (BBA) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), is an R.A.H.E.R Scholar, and is vice president of DECA.

Reed was also secretary of her sophomore and junior classes at MHS.

She is a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church where she serves as a member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Youth Choir and the Usher Board.

Reed plans to attend college next fall. Richard Bland Community College, Virginia Tech and Blue Ridge Community College are her top three choices. She is hoping to earn a degree in animal science and eventually become a veterinarian.

She is the daughter of Elliott and Karen Reed of Remilk. She is the granddaughter of James L. and Ruby Reed of Church View, an the late Mary Sutherlin and Fred Johnson.

Reed’s Little Miss Spat contestant is Devin Cooke, the daughter of Sadie and Derron Cooke of Topping. Devin is a first grade student at Middlesex Elementary School and enjoys math, drawing, riding her bike, and swimming.

posted 10.03.2008

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