FAIR BLUFF, N.C. (WECT) - Wearing the crown is a small part of the watermelon festival queen’s job. Meeting people, advocating for farmers, and using the platform for change is really what the title is all about.
The current queen is stepping down, but before she hands over her reign, she explains what it means to be the NC Watermelon Queen.
“I grew up going to the Watermelon Festival as a kid and now I’m the 33rd North Carolina Watermelon Festival Queen,” says Victoria Wooten.
She wears the crown well, but to her, it’s not about if the crown goes with her outfit, it’s about what it represents.
“It’s just a way to be able to bring community access to our farmers, to our fair bluff watermelon growers associate, and just the town of fair bluff in itself,” says Wooten.
The people of Fair Bluff have been through enough in the recent years. Major flooding took a toll over the town back in 2016 during Hurricane Michael and during Hurricane Florence.
“We have really big hopes for our little town,” says Wooten. “So it really is just advocating. Hey, we are still here. We are still a tight-knit community even thought our town was destroyed, the people in it were not.”
Residents and visitors will gather for all sorts of watermelon fun for the festival, including Saturday night’s big event: the watermelon queen pageant. Women from all over the cape fear region will stand up on stage to prove that they are worthy of the title.
“There are several different pageant systems, but the festival system is more so just about what you represent,” says Wooten.
That representation includes the local watermelon farmers, the people of fair bluff, and the state when it comes to agriculture. North Carolina is top ten in the nation for watermelon production. The sweet fruit is hydrating, helps relieves muscle soreness, and is said to have compounds that could possibly prevent cancer.
All things Victoria promotes and hopes the next queen does too.
“I just hope that the next queen works on herself in her year of reign," says Wooten. "Be yourself. Be completely authentic.”
The new queen will be crowned Saturday night. There is also a junior pageant Sunday.
For more information on the pageants and for a full list of watermelon festival events, click here.