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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Festival Junior Royalty members crowned at annual pageant

PLANT CITY – Contestants displayed glamour fit for queens at the annual 2016 Junior Royalty Pageant.

The first Florida Strawberry Festival event of the year featured nearly 120 contestants ages 5 through 15 completing in four age divisions: baroness, 5 and 6 years old; duchess, 7 to 9 years old; princess, 10 to 12 years old; and queen, 13 to 15 years old.

Winners were Aubrey Duncan, baroness; Skyler ReaAnn Barber, duchess; Peyton Hobbs, princess; and Kendall Gaudens, queen. First maids were Kennedy Duncan, Abigail Lee Mullis, Kate Daigle and Olivia Claire Frazier, respectively.

Contestants participated in a preliminary and final competition in the Charlie Grimes Family Agricultural Center where the top 10 finalists in each division were asked to give an answer to a pre-selected question.

The question was based on this year’s 2016 festival theme “Royal Fun For Everyone” and asked contestants to consider: “If you were in (English Princess) Kate Middleton’s position, what kind of queen would you be?”

Contestants’ answers ranged according to age. Younger contestants said they would encourage reading and helping animals while older contestants emphasized the importance of focusing on kindness and equality.

The Jan. 9 pageant included appearances from 2015 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Samantha Sun and her court as well as a farewell performance from 2015 Junior Royalty members Jadeà Broome, Avery Surrency, Caitlyn Davis and Madelynn Hardwick.

Chairwoman Kay Varnum estimated the event drew a crowd of about 1,000. She credited co-chairwomen Katie Butson and Dee Parker as well as volunteers who assisted during the pageant.

The Junior Royalty members participate in Florida Strawberry Festival and community events throughout the year.

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