Beauties await weekend’s Sunflower Pageant

Published 2:44 pm Thursday, August 25, 2016

CHOCOWINITY — A bevy of beauties will take to the stage Saturday at Southside High School for a Sunflower Scholarship Pageant.

The pageant kicks off the inaugural N.C. Sunflower Festival, planned for Labor Day weekend and hosted by Raised in a Barn Farm in Chocowinity. This weekend’s pageant begins at 5:30 p.m. and admission is $5.

Titles will be awarded in five age groups, with contestants ranging from newborn babies to teenagers, according to pageant coordinator and emcee Elizabeth Harris, a former Miss Independence. Depending on the age group, contestants will compete in casual wear, onstage question, fitness wear and evening gowns/party dresses. A photogenic award will be awarded and an optional talent category of competition is planned as well.

“It’s fun being involved in the N.C. Sunflower Festival,” Harris said. “It’s exciting to set the standard for a new local pageant. We want to make it an annual event and open to other areas. There’s a lot of new faces in the pageant this weekend.”

According to festival organizers, there are 19 contestants total competing in five age categories. They include:

* Seedling (newborn to age 3): Berkley Gibbs of Swan Quarter, Ella Grady of New Bern and Ava Williams of Chocowinity;

* Tiny Miss (ages 4-6): Daisy Cherry of Washington, Henley Gibbs of Swan Quarter, Aubrey Makepeace of Greenville, Lindsey Jo Newberry of Pantego, Amelia Smith of Bath and Lyla Williams of Chocowinity;

* Little Miss (ages 7-10): Eliza Briley of Greenville and Gracie Smith of Bath;

* Young Miss (ages 11-14): Katie Hopkins of Belhaven, Madison Perry of Washington, Skyelr Reising of Washington and Alexis Ziff of Pantego;

* Miss Sunflower Festival (ages 15-18): Sarah Cleary of Belhaven, Leah Rodriguez of Winterville, Sarah Shingleton of Chocowinity and Amelia Woolard of Pinetown.

Prizes include crowns, trophies, flowers, pageant sashes and cash awards. Miss Sunflower Festival will receive a $1,000 college scholarship to be awarded upon the completion of her reign, according to Harris.

The newly crowned sunflower royalty and their court will be featured during the Sunflower Festival parade Labor Day weekend, according to Jane Boahn of Raised in a Barn Farm. Boahn is hoping to sign up more participants for the parade, which is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 3.

“We are calling all families, clubs, churches, schools and organizations,” Boahn said. “This is a fun parade with sunflowers as the theme; it’s not required but it does add to the fun. You can ride, walk, pull and push whatever is family appropriate to show your community spirit.”

The N.C. Sunflower Festival itself runs Sept. 2-4. The schedule of events includes live music, a corn maze, games, rides, special activities for children, animals,  contests, foods, crafts, educational vendors, a Sunday Praise by the Maze service and, weather permitting, hot air balloon rides.

Raised in a Barn Farm is located at 2106 N.C. Highway 33, east of Chocowinity. For more information about the festival, call 252-945-6153 or visit Details are also updated regularly on the N.C. Sunflower Festival Facebook page.