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Oyster Festival Queen contestant provides children with birthday bags

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Oyster Festival Queen contestant Erin Grace Daddario and her Little Miss Spat contestant Liliana Grace Burch.

The selection of the Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat competition is a long-standing tradition that dates back to 1960. What would become the Urbanna Oyster Festival was only four years old when the first Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat were crowned on a flatbed trailer on the day of the festival.  

As the Oyster Festival has evolved over the years, so has the selection of the Queen and Little Miss Spat (a “spat” is a baby oyster). What was once a beauty pageant is now a scholarship based competition for the Queens. The Queen contestants must be high school seniors and residents of Middlesex County. Each Queen contestant mentors a first-grade contestant as her Little Miss Spat.

The Queen and Little Miss Spat competition starts early in the spring and extends until the crowning takes place on Friday of the Oyster Festival. The Queens are judged in five areas: individual community service project, individual judges’ interview, academic achievement, a spontaneously written response to a random question and overall participation in the competition.

The Little Miss Spat Contestants are judged separately from the queens in the following areas: participation at an ice cream social and a tea party, individual judges’ interview and overall participation.

The foundation of this competition is character building and community service. Each Queen contestant must volunteer a minimum of 25 hours benefiting Middlesex County. This year’s Queen and Spat contestants have volunteered well over the required time, completing over 640 hours and donating over $19,900 for the betterment of this community. 

Scholarships for these young ladies have been made possible by the generosity of local businesses. Queen sponsors are Bethpage Camp-Resort, Bon Secours Health, C&F Bank, Dr. C. Ben Lennon, Faulkner Funeral Homes-Bristow-Faulkner Chapel, Saluda, Ferguson Oyster Co.-Retail Seafood Market, Grey’s Point Camp, Jason and Emilie Rowe, J&W Seafood, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, Rosegill Development LLC, Sonabank, Thurston Properties and Thurston Spring Service. 

Sponsors for the Little Miss Spat competition are River Birch Nursery, Ryman’s A/C & Heating, Unique Golf Carts and Urbanna Builders’ Supply.

The crowning of the 61st Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat will take place Friday, November 2, at 4 p.m. at the Urbanna Firehouse. This year’s Queen contestants (in alphabetical order) and their Little Miss Spat contestants include: MaKenzie Bristow and Aubri Harris, Erin Daddario and Liliana Burch, Clarista Hampton and Aleah Brock, Sydney Hudson (who does not have a Little Miss Spat contestant), Hannah Jackson and Stella Johnson, Lily Maydole and Madeline Gretz, Payton St. Louis and Nadya Crader, and Elizabeth Wilding and Avery Martin.

Erin Daddario
Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen contestant Erin Grace Daddario and her Little Miss Spat contestant Liliana Grace Burch have spent their summer raising money to create birthday celebration bags for less fortunate children in our area schools who participate in the Backpack Buddy program. Erin and Liliana have held several events over this summer to be able to provide every child on the list a bag.

Daddario created and titled her community service project, “Celebrate YOU!” as a way to give less fortunate children in Middlesex County a chance to celebrate their birthday without added financial strain on their loved ones. She has always been interested in giving back to her community and expressed an extreme interest in the Backpack Buddy program after inquiring about it in 7th grade. 

Daddario and her spat held a “Happy Birthday America” dessert sale on July 2 to raise money to create the “Celebrate YOU! Bags” that consist of cake mix, icing, party plates, napkins, party hats, candles and party streamers. Children at the elementary and middle schools will have an opportunity to choose a small birthday gift. High school students will be able to choose a gift card to local restaurants, entertainment and online stores. 

On July 15 they held a “Celebrate YOU!” paint night and silent auction with artist Shauna McCranie. The Rollin Rivah was on hand for a chance to shop, as well as Kristin Scott with Scentsy. 

On July 29 Daddario hosted a community-wide carnival birthday celebration. Children in attendance were able to enjoy a super slide, face painting and carnival games, and they decorated their own cupcakes and ate lots of food. 

The proceeds from the dessert sale, paint night and silent auction, and carnival, as well as two additional bake sales and a backpack raffle, totaled $3,200.This allowed Daddario and Burch to purchase all supplies needed to create the birthday bags and have them delivered to all three schools prior to the September 4 start date. 

Daddario has been an active member of the Kiwanis Club since elementary school and is currently the 2018-2019 President of the Key Club.  She participates in Future Business Leaders of America, Art Club and was a 2017-2018 member of NewGen Peacebuilders sponsored by the Rotary Club. 

Daddario has been a Middlesex High School cheerleader since 9th grade and has played three years of varsity basketball. She has been dancing with Linda’s School of Dance since the age of 5 and has taken several classes with the Broadway School of Dance. 

Daddario is the daughter of Michael and Karen Daddario of Urbanna, and the granddaughter of Anne Marie and Bernie Narwocki of Urbanna, and Donald and Beverly Daddario of Pottstown, Pa. She is the older sister of Nicholas Daddario.

Daddario’s Little Miss Spat contestant, Liliana Grace Burch, is a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. She is the daughter of Patrick and Ashland Burch, and the granddaughter of Ray and Minnie Burch of Revis, and Chris and Sheila Major of Jamaica. She is the younger sister of Jackson Burch.

Burch enjoys dancing, playing with friends and being a Spat contestant. 

posted 09.19.2018

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