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Queen contestant raises funds for animal shelter

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 Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat 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 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 55th Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 2, 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 and Miss Congeniality.

The Oyster Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, November 2-3.

Queen profiles

Each week, the Southside Sentinel will profile one of this year’s five Queen contestants and their Little Miss Spat contestants. They include:  Rachel Crews and Skylar Andersen; Allison Payne and Mason Welsh; Kelly Revere and Bailey Fairheart; Brooke Rowe and McKinsey Walker; and Jordan Walton and Chelsey Holmes. Each Queen contestant wrote a press release on her 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. (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 judges are not residents of Middlesex County.

Rachel Crews and Skylar Marie Andersen

Rachel Crews
Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen contestant Rachel Crews, a senior at Middlesex High School, raised money for the Middlesex County Animal Shelter for her community service project. Crews said she chose this project because “I have a huge compassion for animals and their welfare.”

Crews went to the shelter and met Middlesex Animal Control Officer Ricky Warren and took a tour of the shelter, which is located at Cooks Corner. A need for more dog food was a huge problem at the shelter, she said.

Crews held a dog show at Taber Park in Urbanna. It was very successful in raising money, bringing awareness, and “getting my community involved,” said Crews.

She also went to businesses and collected monetary donations, and placed donation jars at seven community businesses.

Throughout her project Crews said she realized people in the community were not aware of the Middlesex Shelter. She decided to host an Adoption Day, which brought people to tour the facility. No dogs were adopted on that day, but it brought more awareness.

Crews raised a total amount of $1,454.28. She took part of her monetary donations to the Middlesex Courthouse and requested that the money be placed in the shelter’s account to be used when needed. She used the rest of her donations to purchase: 1,200 pounds of dog food, four 3-lb. bags of cat food, five containers of bleach, 11 buckets for the outside pens, six bottles of dog shampoo, three dog leashes, two cardboard boxes filled with dog treats, two bags of kitty litter, wet kitty food and dog food, seven bottles of detergent, and four bags of rawhide bones for the older dogs and a smaller box for the puppies.

“My main goal was to supply enough dog food to last the shelter a long while, supply necessities that were needed on an everyday basis, and to bring awareness in my community regarding our local animal shelter,” said Crews. “A major goal I am still pursuing is putting a Middlesex County Animal Shelter sign on Route 33.”

During her high school career, Crews has been an active member of Teachers for Tomorrow, Student Government Association, and Distribution Education Clubs of America, and serving as vice president for the Class of 2013 Committee. During her freshman year she was a member of the 2009 Middlesex High School Homecoming Court.

Academically, Crews has been tapped for the National Honor Society.

Crews also played softball and volleyball; was a sideline cheerleader for football and basketball; and was a member of the Lady Chargers competition cheerleading team.

Crews is currently employed at Horizons Unlimited Learning Center in Urbanna. After graduation, she plans to attend Christopher Newport University to pursue a five-year master’s degree in elementary school teaching.

Crews is the daughter of Robert Moody and Vanessa Crews of Urbanna. She is the granddaughter of the late Bill and Betty Moody of Saluda, and the late Robert and Claudette Crews of Richmond. She has two sisters, April and Valerie.

Her Little Miss Spat contestant is Skylar Marie Andersen, a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. Skylar is the daughter of Eric and Heather Andersen, and enjoys running and playing with her friends. When Skylar grows up, she wants to be a ballerina. Skylar said she loves her friends, family and animals.

posted 09.26.2012

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