The 56th annual Florida Seafood Festival chose Franklin County High School junior Olivia Dutrow Saturday evening to reign over the Nov. 1-2 event.
Emceed by Trinity Hardy, who wore the crown four years ago, together with the reigning 2018 Miss Florida Seafood Beyla Walker, the pageant was its typical exuberant affair, with dance numbers choreographed by Sara Ward.
Jadyn Luberto, daughter of Willie and Misty Luberto, of Apalachicola, the only other FCHS junior in the pageant, finished as runner-up, after winning the poise and appearance category, and finishing as runner-up in the interview segment.
Dutrow, the daughter of Jeff and Donna Dutrow, of Apalachicola, was tops in the interview portion, and runner-up in poise and appearance.
FCHS senior TaKiah Ford, daughter of Tomeika Ford, of Apalachicola, was selected by the contestants as Miss Congeniality, and won the talent portion.
FCHS senior Krista Fuller, daughter of John and Kendra Fuller, of Apalachicola, was tops in business wear.
FCHS senior Madalyn Thompson, daughter of Catherine Page and Zack Thompson, of Eastpoint, was runner-up in business wear.
FCHS senior Kassidy Fisher, daughter of Crystal and Jason Fisher, of Apalachicola, was runner-up in the talent portion.
“I was so excited, I was in awe,” said Dutrow afterwards. “It was incredible.
“It really felt like a team sport, we all going to be happy whichever girl won,” she said. “Without a doubt. We’re a group of friends, we’ve known each other for years.”
Dutrow said she is looking forward to her reign, and a chance to tout the tenacity of the local community which is determined to rejuvenate the seafood industry.
“We persevered after the hurricane hit,” she said, noting that the seafood festival went on just weeks after the devastating blow of the Oct. 10 Hurricane Michael.
“I have the opportunity to shout about these incredible people who keep this community together in the face of adversity,” she said.
Already having embarked on a professional modeling career, Dutrow is a member of the high school’s Brain Bowl team, and Odyssey of the Mind, and volunteers for the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. She was by The Fuss Boutique.
For her talent, she presented, complete with visual materials, a demonstration on the importance of ecology.
In a departure from tradition, none of the six girls offered for their talent the direct rendition of a vocal number.
Ford, the winner for talent, performed a choreographed lip sync routine, complete with flowing wig, to the hit single “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. Ford captains the Seahawk cheerleading squad, and is secretary of both student government and the senior class Secretary. A youth mentor for Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, she said her friend Hayley Creamer, who passed way this summer, served as “an inspiration in life and was a bright light that left our world to early. Hayley had a way to make everything brighter, her smile, her laughter and her loving spirit.” Ford was sponsored by 13 Mile Seafood.
Luberto, who performed a dance routine to the song “Ashes” by Celine Dion, is active in student government and Beta Club, and is president of the junior class. She was sponsored by Luberto Land Works LLC.
Thompson recited the poem “A Miracle to Behold” for her talent, a work about the ocean. Active in student government and president of the Beta Club, she was sponsored by Captain’s Cove Marina.
Fisher used her own photos as part of a presentation on photography for her talent. A member of the 4-H club and an avid photographer, she was Style Loft.
Fuller demonstrated how to perform life saving techniques on an infant for her talent. A varsity cheerleader, active in student government, she volunteers at the First Pentecostal Church. She was sponsored by Barber Seafood.
Judging this year’s pageant was Tonya Rowe, from Calhoun County, where she works for the school district and is active on the Altha Recreational Committee; Greg Tish, a radio personality on Real Talk 93.3 out of Tallahassee; and Christy Rojas, the emergency manager deputy director for Volunteer Florida, and a member of the board of directors for the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The pageant, coordinated by seafood festival board vice president Tress Dameron, also showed a video on the upcoming Flagler Award to be presented to the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Tourist Development Council.
The evening also announced that on Friday, Nov. 1, the featured entertainment will be Grammy award winning Christian artist Jason Crabb. Country music group Parmalee, with hit songs such as “Be Alright” and “Sunday Morning” will be the entertainment highlight on Saturday night.
Members of the all-volunteer seafood festival also include president John Solomon, secretary Andrea Register, treasurer Christina Collins-and members Ted Mosteller, Michael Shuler, Carl Whaley, Anthony Croom, Danielle Layne and Pam Brownell.