Wed August 02, 2023

By Shelly B Short

Watermelon Royalty gathered at the chamber for this week's community coffee

The Hope Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce hosted a community coffee this morning for our 2022-2023 Watermelon Royalty and 2023-2024 contestants. Refreshments were served; fruit, veggies with a ranch dip, cookies, other sweet treats and watermelon, of course.

Each year at the Watermelon Festival a pageant is held where beautiful young ladies and handsome young men grace the stage at the Klipsch AuditoriumThey then have the opportunity to walk away with a crown, a sash and the honor of becoming Watermelon Royalty. Categories include Baby Miss & Mister, Tiny Miss & Mister, Young Miss & Mister, Junior Miss & Mister, and Miss & Mister Watermelon.

The winners of last year's pageant will ride in the watermelon parade this year and then head to the stage to where they will crown the 2023-2024 winners.

Last year's winners are Baby Miss, Kiyomi Lowe, Toddler Miss, Kylie Stevens, Tiny Miss, Kenzley Flowers, Tiny Mister, Jonathan Vaught, Little Miss, Isabella Wren, Young Miss, Allie Still, Junior Miss, Ari Juanes and Miss Watermelon, Ryleigh Marie Kretz.

Director of the Watermelon Pageant, Gigi Bradshaw talked a little about the history of the pageant and how she came to be the Director. "Beta Sigma Phi originally did the pageant but when the sorority went inactive in Hope, the Chamber of Commerce said they had a lot of interest in the community and asked if we would be interested in taking over so I stepped in. Beta Sigma Phi was over the pageant for thirteen years and I have been involved for five years, this is the seventeenth year that Hope has held the Watermelon Pageant. It is just fun for the boys and girls. They step on that stage and shine," Bradshaw said.

Executive Director of the Hope Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce, Christy Burns said, "I love the Watermelon Pageant. Two of my girls have represented the crown over the years and I have two competing again this year. This is always exciting for all the boys and girls that enter."

The 17th Annual Watermelon Festival Pageant will be held on August 6 at 6pm at the Klipsch Auditorium.