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Festival Queen contestant stresses need for heart disease awareness

Oyster Festival Queen contestant Angel Abbott (right) and her Little Miss Spat contestant Katelin Reiner.

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.

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, judges’ interview, written response to a random question, and overall participation. The judges are not residents 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, 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 57th Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 7, at 4 p.m. in the Urbanna Firehouse on Virginia Street. The Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition awards scholarships to the top three Queen finishers.

The Oyster Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, November 7-8.

Queen profiles

Each week for the past seven weeks, the Southside Sentinel has profiled one of this year’s seven Queen contestants and their Little Miss Spat contestants. They include: Angel Abbott and Katelin Reiner, Amberly Blakley and Summer Clark, Tiffany Carter and Makayla Moore, Makenzie Fletcher and Lorelei Cooke, Katarina Kruse and Ava Grace Harris, Emily Sheppard and Kayleigh Pullman, Ashley Walton and Kallie Robins, and Little Miss Spat contestant Taylor Newman.

Angel Abbott
Oyster Festival Queen contestant Angel Abbott and her Little Miss Spat contestant Katelin Reiner worked together this summer to bring heart disease awareness to the adults and children of their community. 

The inspiration for their project came from family members who have had heart disease. Abbott lost her father suddenly to a massive heart attack last year at a young age. Abbott’s father was Middlesex County Sheriff from 2000 to 2011, serving his community and teaching Angel and her brothers the importance of their community. “I hope my efforts to do the same have made him proud,” said Angel.

Angel and Katelin held a 50/50 raffle at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway. “It was rewarding to be able to share all the great stories about my dad as well as hear stories about their families,” said Abbott. “It was truly an amazing night, being able to spread awareness to the community at a place my family spent many weekends as I grew up in this community.”  

Next, Abbott and Reiner held a baked goods and garden sale. The girls offered baked goods, low-carb cookies and cakes for diabetics, along with locally-grown vegetables donated by local farmers. 

Abbott and Reiner also organized an event at Horizons Unlimited Early Learning Center where paramedics from the Central Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad came and showed the DVD “CPR in Schools” and talked to children about the importance of knowing CPR.

Abbott and Reiner distributed “Life’s Simple 7 for Kids” booklets to the children. The booklet explains how the heart works and how to take care of it. “Watching the children be engaged on the importance of CPR gave me the feeling of accomplishment,” said Abbott.

Abbott and Reiner also visited their home church mission groups and distributed healthy snacks and informative booklets.

Lastly, Abbott and Reiner organized an event for the community, “Rock the Beat,” a healthy living and heart awareness rally. A local band and a few local artists provided musical entertainment. In addition, the Hermitage Baptist Church Youth Choir sang an American Heart Association theme song, “It takes Heart to be a Hero.” There were educational booths and fun games for the whole family. This was another event that allowed the whole community to come together and learn about heart disease and share experiences together.   
Abbott and Reiner, together with their community, raised $4,398 for the American Heart Association to join in the fight against heart disease and stroke, our nation’s number one and four cause of death. Abbott stated it meant so much to her that she was able to raise so much money for the cause. “It also was such an amazing feeling knowing that I have given men, women, and children in the community a chance to make healthier choices to lower the possibility of heart disease,” she said. 

During her career at Middlesex High School, Abbott has been a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, and the Student Government Association. She serves as the senior class secretary. For the past two years Abbott has been enrolled in the Bridging Communities technical school completing college level criminal justice courses. She serves as her class representative for the Bridging Communities program. 

Abbott has played volleyball for 5 years, including 4 years on varsity, and currently serves as team captain.

She is a member of Hermitage Baptist Church.

After graduation, Abbott plans to pursue a career in criminal justice and law enforcement.

Abbott is the daughter of Chrissy Abbott and the late Guy Abbott, and the granddaughter of Annie Abbott and the late Woody Abbott, and Jim Ashby and the late Peggy Ashby. She has two brothers, James and Casey.

Katelin is a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. She is the daughter of Bo and Kristal Reiner, and the granddaughter of Tom and Lisa Langford and Bob and Pam Reiner. She attends Hermitage Baptist Church. She enjoys, drawing, coloring, playing at the beach, ballet and playdates with her friends.

posted 10.29.2014

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