Peanut Fest gets a new queen

Published 10:56 pm Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ravynn Stringfield, the 2011 Peanut Fest Queen, waits at the exit of the National Guard Armory to say goodbye to guests as they leave the Suffolk Pilot Club’s Queen's Luncheon Thursday. Stringfield, a senior at King’s Fork High School, will represent the city and her school at Peanut Fest and participate in several of the festival’s activities, including the peanut butter sculpting contest.

A new queen joined the ranks of the queens of past Peanut Festivals on Thursday.

Ravynn Stringfield, a senior at King’s Fork High School, was crowned the 2011 Peanut Fest Queen at the annual Queen’s Luncheon, hosted by the Suffolk Pilot Club.

“It is amazing,” she said. “I’m so proud to be representing Suffolk.”

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Although she was named this week, her reign really begins during Peanut Fest, which takes place Oct. 6-9.

Stringfield’s royal duties include judging the fest’s exhibitors and choosing the winner for the sidewalk art contest.

But she is more thrilled about participating in one of Peanut Fest’s messiest events.

“I’m really excited about the peanut butter sculpting contest,” Stringfield said. “I really like being creative. It’s so unique to Suffolk – that’s why I like it so much.”

Stringfield was chosen as the queen by the Suffolk Pilot Club from a group of 10 girls, that includes two students from each of the city’s high schools.

The other students, named as Peanut Fest Princesses, include Mollie Edick of King’s Fork; Kimberlyn Mehalko and Ashley Scott of Lakeland High School; Brooke Starling and Emily Tuck of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy; Jaclyn Davis and Sydney Owen of Nansemond River High School; and Tiffany Stancil and Amber Ballance of First Baptist Christian School.

The club has selected the Peanut Fest Queen since 1981, and this year, a panel chose the winner based on four criteria: a creative writing essay, school activities, awards and achievements, and community involvement.

Stringfield is heavily involved in activities both in and out of school. She is a part of the King’s Fork International Baccalaureate program and serves as a mentor for younger IB students. She also acts as the head of the Student Advisory Board for the program.

Additionally, Stringfield is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and her school’s Key and Beta Clubs.

She has maintained straight A’s throughout high school and stays active in her community by volunteering for UNICEF, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Salvation Army.

In addition to introducing the queen and her court, the Queen’s Luncheon is a leadoff event for Peanut Fest.

Mayor Linda Johnson spoke at the event and offered her congratulations to Stringfield and the nine girls in the court.

“Each of them deserves recognition, admiration and to be congratulated for your achievements,” she said.

Johnson also said she hopes this year’s Peanut Fest will be the best the city has ever had, adding that the festival is an essential tradition in Suffolk.

“It’s just a part of who we are,” she said. “This is an event that showcases the city, and you can’t imagine how important that is.”