Franklin County High School junior Haleigh Ming was crowned the first ever Carrabelle Riverfront Royalty Pageant Princess Mermaid at the April 20 event at the former Carrabelle High School.

The pageant, debuted and overseen by Chris Massey, drew a dozen contestants in four age divisions, and is designed as a fundraiser for a unique scholarship for graduating seniors.

The Barbara Massey Memorial Scholarship Foundation plans to award its first scholarship this spring to a Franklin County senior with at least a 3.0 grade point average. Named after Chris Massey’s grandmother, the scholarship is limited to students who have grown up under the care of someone other than their biological parents, and may include those living in foster care, adopted, living on their own, or  living with grandparents.

Named as first alternate was FCHS senior Hannah Oxendine, who won the Fanta "Sea" Nautical Wear competition. FCHS senior Shelby Myers was second alternate.

In addition to the pageantry along a theme of nautical wear, the contestants were given a 17-munute interview by the judges, who hailed from Orlando, Tallahassee, and Puerto Rico, with an alternate from Eastpoint.

FCHS sophomore Kelly Pilger Wilson was named Teen Miss Coral Reef. The infant MaKynnley Lane was the Ultimate Grand Supreme winner, also named Infant Miss Spickety Spat.

Singer Debbie Jordan provided the entertainment.

Part of the fundraising was also for the county humane society, with those bringing food and pet supplies admitted free. Massey said 11 bags of dog food and cat litter were collected at the door.

“I had nothing to compare the pageant to before,” he said. “We got positive feedback and praise from the community. They said it was successful, the stage was immaculate and everyone had a good time and everyone showed good sportsmanship. That gives me enough drive to do it again. We’re going to do one every year.” – By DAVID ADLERSTEIN