Fourteen seek title of Oyster Festival Queen
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 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 52nd Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 6, at 4 p.m. at Taber Park on Rappahannock Avenue. The Oyster Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, November 6-7.
The Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition awards scholarships to the top three Queen finishers and Miss Congeniality.
The Southside Sentinel will profile two Queen contestants and their Little Miss Spat contestants each week. Each Queen contestant wrote a report on their project and background.
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.
The judges are not residents of Middlesex County.
This year’s Queen contestants, in alphabetical order, and their Little Miss Spat hopefuls include: Lindsey Ballantyne and Natalie Cutler, Amanda Blake and Jenna Ancell, JaLisa Carter and Airiana Beverley, Sarah Daniel and Janie Allen, Susan Dunaway and Kaelyn Sibley, Cydney Fisher and RuthAnne Key, Maggie Hall and Laura Walton, Catherine Harris and Katie Brooke, Susan Heyman and Ariyana Jackson, Stephanie Hutton and Emma Gresham, Kendall McNamee and Sara Paige Murray, Libbie Randolph and Brooke Brohawn, Micah Reed and Laila Dixon, and Katherine Wood and Ellie McMinn. Madeline Hurd also is participating as a Little Miss Spat contestant.
Amanda Blake, a senior at Middlesex High School, hosted a benefit dinner to raise money for the Hartfield Volunteer Fire Department as her community service project.
Amanda grew up with the Hartfield Volunteer Fire Department and has always wanted to help them. She and her Little Miss Spat contestant, Jenna Ancell, also made change collection jars to raise additional funds for HVFD. They were placed at The Pilot House Inn, Grey’s Point Campground, Debbie’s Restaurant, Tall Chief Convenience Store, Rudy’s Pizza, and Henley’s Do-It Center.
The dinner was held in July at The Beacon in Topping. The proceeds went toward the purchase of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Amanda and Jenna raised a total of $1,821.25, which exceeded their goal.
“The entire experience was very rewarding, and the thought of potentially saving someone’s life is amazing,” said Amanda.
During her school career, Amanda has been involved in a number of extra-curricular activities. She has been an active member of the Technology Student Association for 5 years. She is the president of the MHS chapter of the Technology Student Association (TSA), and secretary of the Tidewater Regional TSA. She is the president of MHS Leo Club, which is the high school level of the Lions Club, the reporter for the MHS National Honor Society chapter, has participated in marching band, and is on the tennis team.
After graduation from MHS, Amanda plans to become a technology education teacher and wants to attend school at Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, or Virginia Tech.
Amanda is the daughter of Alan and Connie Blake of Topping.
Her Little Miss spat contestant, Jenna Ancell, is the daughter of Brett and Shelia Ancell of Topping. Jenna has one sibling, Kasey. Playing with her family and friends and watching television are some of Jenna’s favorite things to do.
Catherine Harris, daughter of Don and Ann Harris of Stormont, is a senior at Christchurch School. She is an active member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Tour Guide Association, Sustainability Task Force, and the Student Athletic Association. She also is a tri-varsity athlete, playing volleyball, basketball and soccer. She is a past recipient of the Ladies Auxiliary VFW award for the Outstanding Youth Volunteer of Virginia for 2007-08. She has volunteered at Rappahannock General Hospital and Middlesex Family YMCA, and with the Middlesex Youth Basketball League and Middlesex County Little League.
Catherine is a member of Christ Church Parish.
She has been on the Headmaster’s List and Dean’s List at Christchurch School. When Catherine graduates in the spring of 2010, she plans on attending Virginia Tech with the goal of eventually becoming an environmentalist.
For Catherine’s community service project, she decided to have two bake sales, and a “Walk for our Oyster” to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Christchurch School has really opened up my eyes to the ‘Save the Bay’ efforts,” she said. “Christchurch also has its own oyster reef at the waterfront where many students are active in helping oysters survive. I felt that I should teach the youth the importance of the oyster and tell them how amazing it can be.”
During the two bake sales at the Middlesex Little League, Catherine raised over $200. Her walk, which took place at Christchurch School, was a success and many youngsters from the Middlesex Family YMCA kids camp participated. “The kids learned so much about the oyster,” said Catherine. “They loved the games and free food the most. Overall, we all had so much fun!”
Catherine’s Little Miss Spat, Katie Brooke, is the daughter of Karen and Eddie Brooke of Stormont. She loves having sleep-overs with friends and loves the trampoline. Katie started the first grade this fall and loves school.