By Danielle Coots
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — On Saturday, 30 pint-sized 4- to 6-year-old girls and boys gathered at Concord Elementary School for a chance to win the title of 2014 Little Miss & Mr. Strawberry.
Following the competition, 5-year-old Jayla Leeland and 6-year-old Matthew Waller were crowned as this year’s festival royalty.
This year’s event was sponsored by Marsh Supermarket and the decision was grueling for the judges, including Linda Duncan, Sue Danworth, Becky Pappas and Dee Manhan.
Sally Riechert interviewed the children and and promoted discussions.
This year’s theme was “Home.Grown.Berries” and the contestants competed in outfits representing the pageant theme.
This year, 22 Miami County contestants competed for the roles of Little Miss & Mr. Strawberry. The children were interviewed by Riechert and asked questions about their favorite things, including their pets, siblings and family.
Of course, some responses were something only the little ones would say.
Cameron Clint, 5, was asked about her beautiful dress.
“My daddy made it,” Clint said.
Josie Line held up a photograph of her little sister and told the audience that when her sister Megan was born, the doctors said she wouldn’t live. Now, she is doing fine.
Ryan Goldberg, 4, was asked what she was proud of and she responded, “I ride a bike without training wheels.”
Little Addison Spear, 4, made the crowd chuckle with her response to questions as “I don’t care.”
Other contestants sang songs and recited poems. Some told jokes, like Taylor Shafer, 4.
“What do you do with an egg when it breaks? Duct tape it,” Shafer offered the crowd.
Matthew Waller also wowed the crowd with two magic tricks.
Other winners were:
Best costume — Taylor Shafer, 4
Third place Mr. — Triston Tredwell, 5
Third place Miss — Josie Line, 5
Second place Mr. — Brody Staplton, 6
Second place Miss — Alexa Deaton, 6
Waller and Leeland will take over for last year’s winners, Willow Miller and Conner Haywood for a year of being ambassadors to the city and the 2014 Troy Strawberry Festival. The two will be part of the Troy Strawberry Festival parade and will take part throughout the festival, scheduled for June 7-8 in downtown Troy and on the levee.
For more information about the Troy Strawberry Festival, visit gostrawberries.com or call the festival office at (937) 339-7714.