By Terri Allen
The Clay County Golden Delicious Festival once again attended the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festival (WVAFF) convention in Charleston January 9th to 11th. Pageant contestants and guests were faced with many challenges with the declaration of a state of emergency in the area on Thursday afternoon. The absence of water forced area restaurants to close and hotels were faced with unprecedented challenges. With a convention full of event planners who are often faced with challenges, the WVAFF worked diligently to keep things on pace and succeeded.
Eighty-eight fair and festival queens competed in the state-wide pageant and were judged on event promotion, interviews and evening gown competition. The air was filled with excitement as the competition narrowed to the top fifteen contestants who included the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival Queen, Ciara Brown. In the final evening competition Ciara wore a stunning evening gown of silver and velvet blue and in the interview she told how she enjoyed the Golden Delicious Festival, especially the apple pie contest. She was both elegant and eloquent as she represented the Clay County event in front of hundreds of guests in the auditorium. As the 2013 WVAFF queen, Nichole Greene, made her final walk on the stage, the crowd grew anxious for the announcement of the winners. Cameras were ready as each name was announced: fourth runner-up La Tasha Mitchell, Miss WV Coal Festival; third runner-up Susan King, Miss Monongalia County Fair; second runner-up Taylor Eaton, Miss WV Pumpkin Festival; first runner-up Hannah McCommas, Miss Strawberry Festival and the winner, Leslie Dawn Garrett, Miss Black Walnut Festival. As the assembly rose to their feet in applause, the Commissioner of Agriculture, Walt Helmick, presented the crown. The moment was surreal as we witnessed three past and present Miss Golden Delicious queens on the stage at the top of the competition. Leslie Garrett was Miss Golden Delicious in 2010 and crowned Nichole Greene as Miss Golden Delicious in 2011. It has been an honor to have all these ladies represent the Golden Delicious Festival and Clay County so beautifully.
Megan Shaffer, from Wallback, is the reigning queen of the St. Albans Fall Fest and earned the coveted Miss Congeniality award for the third consecutive year. Megan has a magnetic personality, a winning smile and is obviously well loved by her peers.
The festival was awarded communication awards in the following categories: Website Division, third place; Pageant Program, second place; and Program or Premium Book, third place. Plaques and ribbons were presented during the annual business meeting of the WV Association of Fairs and Festivals.
The 2014 Clay County Golden Delicious Festival queen’s pageant will be June 14, 2014 and the children’s pageant is scheduled for August 9, 2014 at Clay County High School. The Clay County Golden Delicious Festival will be held September 18th through September 21st. The Board of Directors has a planning meeting at the Clay Lions Club on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be held February 6th.