2002 Fest queen receives crown

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 4, 2002

Suffolk’s &uot;Silver Anniversary Peanut Fest Queen,&uot; Sarah Catherine McPhail, was crowned and honored Wednesday by a packed house as the Pilot Club of Suffolk held &uot;The Queen’s Luncheon&uot; in the Suffolk Shrine Club.

McPhail is the daughter of Barbara and Phil McPhail, and a student at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. She plans a possible career in medicine.

Leroy Edwards, the master of ceremonies for the elite luncheon, introduced the queen and princesses and the world’s most famous nut, &uot;Mr. Peanut,&uot; who had the honor of placing the crown upon Queen Sarah Catherine’s head. She will now officiate at many Peanut Fest events, including Saturday’s 10 a.m. parade in downtown Suffolk, as well as the &uot;Peanut Butter Sculpture Contest.&uot; Watch for her as she makes her royal appearances at the festival and along the mid-way where she may enjoy a funnel cake.

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The Court of Princesses is comprised of Byrnn Portafe, daughter of Terry and Tracy Portafe and a Nansemond River High student; Heather Carroll, daughter of Sue and Rick Carroll and a student at the Academy; Laura Harris, daughter of Jackie and Bill Harris and a student at Lakeland High School; Kerri Shavaun Brown, daughter of Melinda and Jackson P. Brown; and Nichole Tomasone, daughter of Stephen Tomasone and she attends Nansemond River High.

There were so many members of Suffolk’s City Council, Mayor E. Dana Dickens and Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett that it could have been an election party, but instead it was a celebration for the Queen and her court.

Dickens congratulated the queen and told the court he is also very proud of them.

&uot;It’s a good time to be in Suffolk with the quality of students we have represented here today,&uot; said Dickens. &uot;Also, you have done a wonderful job on your essays and keep doing what you’re doing. And, remember that you can do anything you want to do if you want to do it badly enough.&uot;

The party for the Royalty among Suffolk’s high school students was given by the Pilot Club of Suffolk, which marked its 23rd year of presenting the Queen of Peanut Fest to the public.

President of the Pilot Club, Nancy Grace Parr, said she believes honoring the city’s young women can only benefit the community.

&uot;I think it’s wonderful that these girls can write such great essays about Peanut Fest,&uot; said Parr. &uot;It is proof that our students are receiving a quality education and that our teachers are some of the finest in the Commonwealth.&uot;

Each year, students at area high schools submit their essays and the Queen is chosen on the merits of those essays. The five runners-up comprise her court.

The Queen’s Luncheon serves as the kick-off for the &uot;Suffolk Peanut Fest,&uot; which celebrates its Silver Anniversary this year. The Chairman of Peanut Fest 2002 is William D. &uot;Billy&uot; Wyatt, a former blanching plant supervisor at Planters Peanuts and a 25-year veteran of Peanut Fest Volunteer Services.

Wyatt thanked the club for sponsoring the luncheon, and he said it was great to see his ol’ buddy, Mr. Peanut. He also said the next Peanut Fest Chairman was Jessie Johnson, president of Suffolk Festivals Inc., the team of volunteers that annually stages the event that draws 150,000 people to the city.

&uot;I also want to point out that Peanut Fest could not exist without the hard work of the staff at Suffolk Festivals,&uot; said Wyatt. &uot;Linda Stephens, the director, does a wonderful job all year, and she is ably assisted by Linda Key, who is hard at work at festival headquarters right now.&uot;

Wyatt added that the festival is expected to be the best ever since it marks the 25th anniversary.

&uot;We have a spectacular event planned… and we hope that everyone will come out to enjoy all the games, rides, fireworks and many other exciting things,&uot; said Wyatt.

Vice Mayor Bennett, attending his sixth such luncheon, said he believes in honoring outstanding youth of the community.

&uot;It’s great to give them this type of support,&uot; said Bennett. &uot;I also think the parents and teachers of these young ladies are to be praised for the wonderful job they are doing to help them be successful in life. Parents take a lot of time and effort to help them become the successful women they are.&uot;

Councilman Bobby Ralph said he’s attended several Queen’s Luncheons and the events show the strength of the community.

Belk’s of Suffolk also provided a fashion show with the latest styles, colors and fashions for the upcoming holidays. The apparel was modeled by some of the city’s grandest ladies including Peggy Byrd, Lydia Duke, Daphne Teele, Margaret Jones, Jeanne Banks, Susan Rawls, Jean Walden, and Helen Flynn.

Belk’s of Suffolk also provided a fashion show with the latest styles, colors and fashions for the upcoming holidays. The apparel was modeled by some of the city’s grandest ladies including Peggy Byrd, Lydia Duke, Daphne Teele, Margaret Jones, Jeanne Banks, Susan Rawls, Jean Walden, and Helen Flynn.