280+ appearances (and counting!), one battle with the flu, six Dunn Benson Ford cars, and nearly 30,000 miles traveled across our great state…Now my time is drawing to a close as the 80th Queen of the Tar Heel State.
The last few weeks have provided some of the best memories I will cherish. I experienced two of our greatest North Carolina traditional festivals, The Azalea Festival and the Strawberry Festival! When I say I had a blast, I mean it in every sense of the word. I can’t possibly choose a favorite because they were both so incredible in their own special ways. With Azalea, I have built a relationship with the festival and community since working at WECT in Wilmington and serving on the Queen’s Court as Miss Wilmington 2016. It was a true honor to return as Miss North Carolina, sing on the parade route, and to be entrusted with the task of “filling in” for the Queen Azalea while she was ill. Thank you, Michael and Lauren for being the best Azalea escorts in history! I’m so proud of the community service aspect Azalea brings to the table when it comes to the day dedicated to visiting the hospital, a local school, and the Boys and Girls Club. It correlates so strongly with the mission of the Miss North Carolina Organization and I am so appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the best week-long southern garden party!
I, of course, had so much fun planning my wardrobe for both festivals because there were multiple opportunities to change into different attire for each function! Special thanks to my Fairy Godmother, Melinda Crews, and my Mom for putting the seal of approval and that extra “sparkle” to my outfits!
When it comes to Strawberry Festival…oh my goodness. These people were so kind and generous. Growing up in a small town with strong ties to agriculture, St. Pauls, I felt so connected to the town and people of Chadbourn. Plus, these strawberries are the sweetest (and biggest!) ones I have ever had! Special thanks to Susan Riggs for being such an incredible escort and to Kathy Causey for passing down some of “Ma Strawberry” (Katherine Causey’s) one of a kind strawberry heirlooms. The NC Department of Agriculture spoiled me rotten riding in the “BIG TRUCK” during the parade, and I even raised $2,000 for local farmers by auctioning off a flat of strawberries! 😊 I am so thankful and blessed to have experienced so much love and kindness.
I smile and my heart overflows when I think of how the next Miss North Carolina is going to experience these priceless moments. Speaking of my time coming to an end, it’s now your chance to vote for your favorite candidate in the 2018 Miss North Carolina Competition! One of the 49 smart, sweet, and talented ladies vying for my job will be this year’s ABC 11 People’s Choice…and voting is NOW OPEN! View their personal videos sharing about the woman in their life who empowers them the most, then vote for your favorite! Just click on the link below, and choose wisely! The ABC 11 People’s Choice Winner is GUARANTEED the 11th slot in the TOP 15!
Happy voting and I hope to see you soon at one of my upcoming final appearances!