The 2023 Strawberry Festival Queen and Court, from left to right: Court Member Fe Ramirez, First Maid Jaida Davis, Queen Kennedie Clinton, Court Member Addison Raburn and Court Member Kaleigh Salmon. (Photo courtesy of the Florida Strawberry Festival.)

Kennedie Clinton was crowned queen of the 88th Florida Strawberry Festival at the annual pageant on January 21.

Clinton was selected from a field of 24 contestants. Jaida Davis was chosen first maid along with court members Addison Raburn, Fe Ramirez and Kaleigh Salmon.

“I’m so excited. This is such an amazing opportunity to represent my community,” said Clinton. “I’m so honored. I’m so blessed. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. I’m on cloud nine.”

Clinton is the daughter of Michael and Michelle Engle. She is currently a junior at Durant High School. Clinton serves as a member of National Honor Society, National Arts Honor Society, National English Honor Society and the Durant Theatre Company. She plans to pursue a career in law or physics to become either a criminal defense attorney or astrophysicist.

The Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Competition is organized by the Plant City Lions Club and is composed of five facets of competition: a personal interview, on-stage speaking, casual wear, evening wear and an impromptu question.

“Tonight was a very exciting night,” said Florida Strawberry Festival President Elect Kyle Robinson. “The judges did an outstanding job of selecting a group of sweet, intelligent and well-spoken young ladies. The previous queen and court held a high standard, but I’m confident this court will be up to the challenge and make us proud.”

Throughout the year, the queen and court make over 80 appearances as they represent the Florida Strawberry Festival and the Plant City community. They can be seen at festival events throughout the grounds and at community events throughout the year.

The Florida Strawberry Festival also crowned the winners of its annual Junior Royalty pageant earlier this month at the Grimes Family Agricultural Center on the festival grounds.

One hundred and twenty registered contestants from 5-15 years old competed in four categories according to their ages: baroness, duchess, princess and queen, respectively. From the top five finalists in each category, a first maid and a winner were chosen.

Madelynn Marie Hardwick was selected as Junior Royalty Queen, Giselle Elena McDowell was chosen as Junior Royalty Princess, Olivia Pilar McDowell was chosen as Junior Royalty Duchess and Aubrey Sweeney was chosen as Junior Royalty Baroness.

“Once again, we have an outstanding group of girls to represent our festival,” said Florida Strawberry Festival President Paul Davis. “We couldn’t be more proud of our girls, our families and this community. We are truly blessed.”

The Junior Royalty winners will represent the Florida Strawberry Festival throughout the year, making appearances at events and in the annual Plant City Christmas Parade and Grand Parade during the festival.

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