1942 Florida Tomato Festival Queens

by Eugenia Exum Holston
(second from the right - "Miss Gibsonton" elected queen of the 1942 Florida Tomato Festival)

Don't chuckle, as I tell you of the way in which I was elected to compete in this very interesting event. We met on the steps of the Gardenville School and were to perform a skit that we had written. One of the judges, I remember, was Mrs. Dan Graves (known as Spike). My act went something like this, as it was spur of the moment and not much time to really plan a polished production. I chose the Lucky Strike slogan as my title (So round, so firm, so fully packed). This was done in a song, dance and dramatic setting. Another thing that makes me amused, when I think of it, was that this was all done with no accompaniment and outside of the building.

The next step was how we were to be the winner of the contest to become Queen. This was based on the number of votes that we could raise and each vote cost the voter a penny. That meant that the contestant had to get out and promote herself. My father and uncle had been in the produce business for years and collected many votes. The other areas to pursue were, local barbecues that were being staged out in the country locations. I remember going to several of those, introducing myself and collecting votes in among those attending. When the votes were counted, I was declared Queen.

This honor had an impact on my future plans for a career in music and performance. That goal has been finished time after time in a minor way. There has always been opportunities to use this talent in the Service of Our Lord in churches, as I traveled with an Air Force husband, as well as productions that I have written of Officers Wives Clubs around the country. Then after my husband's retirement, I have taught music and conducted choirs in the local area.

To Those who might think of getting involved in the community activities, I say go for it.



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