by Danny Wade
The annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival City Tour was once again a huge success. Last Friday ‘berry royalty and dignitaries toured several businesses and industries spreading the word about the upcoming Strawberry Festival.
Dignitaries attending this year’s tour were festival president, Ashley Culpepper along with his wife, Beth; general chairman Melissa Swingler and her husband, Lyle; honoree Rick Fisher made a brief appearance before heading off to work; Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes, accompanied by his wife, Carol; and festival photographer, Danny Wade of The Humboldt Chronicle.
Festival Royalty included the Hostess Princess Allie Privitt (joined by her mom, Mitzie, who is also the official float builder for the festival), 1st Maid Josie Seals, 2nd Maid Hannah Bland, 3rd Maid Savannah Smith and 4th Maid Hadley Lindsey; Junior Hostess Princess Jalisa Tate (joined by her mom, Hannah); Territorial Queen Keri Arnold, 1st Maid Bentley Gordon, 2nd Maid Abby Rial and 3rd Maid Olivia Davis; Miss Teen Territorial Queen Sophie Box (joined by her mom, DeS); Junior Territorial Queen Annalyse Johnson (joined by her mom, Amanda); and Little Miss Territorial Hallie-Kate Dierks (joined by her mom, April).
The tour began at Humboldt City Hall where Mayor Sikes and his staff greeted those on the tour and provided breakfast for the group. The historian, Sikes, led group through the historic building recently renovated to be Humboldt City Hall. After the tour, Sikes and his staff presented each of the girls with a strawberry necklace.
From there, everyone loaded on the bus to visit the Montessori program at Stigall Primary School. Everyone split up into two groups, each going into the classroom as they watch these three, four and five-year-olds work their lessons on their own. Hostess Princess Privitt read to the students.
The next stop on the tour was Pratt Industries. The group was taken on a tour of the facility that makes corrugated board boxes, all from recycled materials. As gifts, each of the royalty girls received a decorative, custom gift container made at the plant.
The Humboldt Rotary Club was the next stop on the tour. The bus unloaded at Humboldt Medical Center where Rotary meetings are held each Friday in the conference room. The club provided lunch for everyone. President Culpepper was the featured speaker for the program.
After lunch the group visited ConAgra, which is know for their ice cream toppings. The staff provided ice cream sundaes with three of their prize-winning toppings, Strawberry (of course), chocolate fudge and caramel.
The final official stop of the day was Down on Main Street. The girls enjoyed checking out the girls’ and ladies’ apparel and accessories. Several did a little shopping while there.
As the bus pulled back to city hall, several of the royalty took the opportunity to visit some of the shops in downtown Humboldt before calling it a day.
The Strawberry Festival City Tour is a way to invite people to enjoy the festival while offering the territorial royalty from out-of-town to get a better idea of what the Strawberry City is all about.