Sunflower Festival crowns 2016 beauty queens

Published 8:36 pm Thursday, September 1, 2016

CHOCOWINITY — As a kick-off to the inaugural North Carolina Sunflower Festival in Chocowinity, a pageant featuring contestants from newborns to teenagers was held Aug. 27 at Southside High School.

Four queens were crowned from among contestants representing communities across eastern North Carolina.

Lyla Williams of Chocowinity was chosen Tiny Miss Sunflower, as well as top model and photogenic winner. First runner-up in that category was Amelia Smith of Bath.

The Little Miss Sunflower title was awarded to Greenville’s Eliza Briley, who also received photogenic and top model prizes. Her first runner-up was Gracie Smith of Bath.

In the Teen Miss Sunflower competition, Katie Hopkins of Belhaven won the coveted crown. Katie also was named top model and received the pageant’s overall talent award. First runner-up in the teen division was Emily Roscoe, who also received the photogenic award.

Leah Rodriguez of Winterville was the judges’ choice to reign as the first Miss Sunflower Festival; she was also selected for the top model award. Amelia Woolard of Pinetown was named first runner-up in that competition.

The newly crowned queens will be special guests during this weekend’s festival and will ride in Saturday morning’s parade in Chocowinity.

The N.C. Sunflower Festival, hosted by Raised in a Barn Farm and supporting sponsors, is scheduled for the weekend, weather permitting. Scheduled events include a corn maze, live musical entertainment, games, children’s activities, contests, rides, food, crafts, educational vendors 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