Festival Queen contestant raises funds to support foster care services in Middlesex
As the Urbanna Oyster Festival evolved over the years, so has the selection process for the Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat.
The first Queen competition was a “beauty pageant” of sorts held in 1960. About 20 years ago, the traditional pageant was replaced by the Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition, with community service required.
Currently, the judging is based on a community service project, grade point average, judges’ interview, written response to a random question, and overall participation. The judges are not residents of Middlesex County.
Each Queen contestant is required to volunteer a minimum of 25 hours of community service. During the last 10 years Queen contestants have volunteered more than 5,000 hours of community service and raised an estimated $125,000, which was donated to causes that have made the Middlesex community stronger.
The Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition awards scholarships to the top three Queen finishers.
The selection of the Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen is a tradition that dates to 1960, the year before Urbanna Days became the Urbanna Oyster Festival. The first Festival Queen was crowned on a flatbed trailer during Urbanna Days.
The tradition of crowning a Little Miss Spat, in addition to a Festival Queen, began in 1966.
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, a judged tea party and overall participation.
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 59th Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 4, at 4 p.m. inside the Urbanna Firehouse on Virginia Street.
This year’s seven Queen contestants (in alphabetical order) and their Little Miss Spat contestants include: Raiven Hammond and Aniyah Billups, Rachael Howard and Harper Blodgett, Meghan Krom and Carly Moss, Madeline Norwood and Katie Tibbs, Meghan Shores and Chloe Myers, Emily Taylor and Lailah Baylor, and Hailey Walton and Hannah Lambert.
Following is the final in a series of profiles on the 2016 contestants and their community service projects.
Many times the agency ends up moving their belongings in plastic trash bags and it wished to have a more dignified way for these children to move their belongings. “I think many people don’t realize how lucky they are,” said Meghan. “I didn’t until I began volunteering at social services. There are many things that I take for granted, so this was a good learning experience for me.”
She identified this need in the system when she was volunteering at social services.
Meghan and Carly organized a fundraiser that was held in July, an event they called “Celtic at the Creek.” It was held at the Deltaville Maritime Museum, which sponsored Meghan’s event at the park. Over 300 people came to support the cause. A Celtic band, “Poisoned Dwarf” of Williamsburg, played to entertain the guests, along with dancers from the Cumascaigh School of Irish Dance, who were a huge hit with the audience.
Meghan has been a competitive Irish dancer since the age of 5, so she wanted to use her talent to help others. “I loved being able to give back to my community while doing what I love,” she said.
There were 10 other dancers from her school, and they received many compliments on their efforts toward this project.
Meghan and Carly spoke at the fundraiser, thanking everyone for coming, and friends of Meghan helped with a 50/50 raffle. Even after the fundraiser, the two contestants continued receiving donations toward the cause and in the end they raised over $2,000. With the money they raised, over 20 pieces of luggage were purchased and presented to the Middlesex Department of Social Services.
As a student of West Point High School (WPHS), Meghan has been on the junior varsity and varsity cross-country and tennis teams, as well as a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and yearbook staff. She is working concurrently on her associate’s degree from Rappahannock Community College.
Identifying her passion at an early age, Meghan has been an Irish dancer for 11 years, and dances with the Cumascaigh School of Irish Dance in Williamsburg four nights a week.
Meghan is the daughter of Mitch and Leslie Krom of Wake, and the granddaughter of Paul and Mary Ellen Sherwood of Wake, and John and Kathy Krom of Laneview. Meghan is a member of Church of the Visitation. She is planning to go on to study physical science to become a physical therapist.
Carly is a first-grader at Ware Academy in Gloucester and is the daughter of Matthew and Melissa Moss of Topping. She is the granddaughter of Carolyn Moss of Topping, and Gary Johnson of Norfolk. Carly enjoys ballet, swimming and golf as well as art and creating her fairy garden. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Gloucester and First Presbyterian Church of Richmond.