Nansemond River Student crowned 2023 Peanut Fest Queen

Published 5:53 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

2023’s Peanut Fest Queen has arrived. Among a group of equally talented young ladies, Nansemond River High School student Destiny Caravello was crowned as this year’s Suffolk Peanut Fest Queen during the Suffolk Peanut Queen’s Banquet and Fashions held on Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Hilton Garden Suffolk Riverfront. Caravello was in the running alongside fellow princesses, Ashley Caldwell of Nansemond River High School, Nia Castellow of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Mia Dixon of Suffolk Christian Academy, Emma Graves of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Aaniya Jackson of King’s Fork High School, Elizabeth Pound of Suffolk Christian Academy, Trinidy Taliferro of Lakeland High School and Jakyra Woodall of King’s Fork High School. Following her win, Caravello recited her winning creative essay to attendees and city officials, highlighting this year’s theme of Mardi Gras.

“The tradition of Mardi Gras, much like Peanut Fest, has been around for a long time. The tradition has grown over multiple centuries from a celebration in France to a worldwide jubilee. The parades, costumes, colors, food, music, and art make Mardi Gras special,” she said. “The Suffolk Peanut Fest celebrates the diversity of our city, especially with a theme like Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras coming to the Suffolk Peanut Fest is an opportunity to bring new spirits, new flavors, and new culture to the festival. The year’s Peanut Fest will be like no other!”

Following the banquet, Caravello, alongside her parents, Vincent and Precious Caravello, talked about how they felt about the momentous occasion.

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“Honestly, I’m just really excited. Excited for Peanut Fest, excited to hold this new title and to have a lot of fun,” Destiny said.

Her mother, Precious, expressed how proud she was of her daughter.

“I am proud. Destiny has worked very hard in her essay. She was very excited when she came home to share that she was going to be a part of this great occasion, and I’ve just supported her all the way,” she said.

Her father, Vincent, spoke highly of his daughter’s work ethic and says he is super excited for her.

“Destiny works so hard on everything. She never goes into anything without giving 100%, and once she does, she goes all in, and we couldn’t be more proud of her and what she’s accomplished,” Vincent said.

The banquet, produced by the Pilot Club of Suffolk, also provided a silent auction, dinner, and a fashion show with the latest designs from Cecelia’s Boutique and Gifts. Suffolk Tourism Developer and Peanut Fest Publicity Coordinator Theresa Earles also talked about the banquet as a fundraiser.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to not only support Peanut Fest but also the Pilot Club. This is a fundraiser for the Pilot Club, which raises money and support for people with traumatic brain injuries … but it also gives us a chance to celebrate the students in Suffolk. And these young ladies are great in their own right, whether it’s grades and sports and community activities. So it’s really the best and the brightest of Suffolk,” Earles said. “It’s a great opportunity to support Suffolk schools, and it’s a wonderful tradition.”

Earles said this will kick off Peanut Fest with the Suffolk Peanut Fest Parade at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 30, in Downtown Historic Suffolk. Earles finally expressed her hopes of attendees as well as the Queen and her court understanding how important community is.

“Each year doing this, it brings more new people to the festival and the community. So hopefully when these ladies are adults, they’ll come back and be part of Peanut Fest and the planning and the volunteers so we can keep continuing this local tradition for more than 45 years, which is nothing to sneeze at,” she said with a laugh. “45 years is amazing.”