BUCKHANNON - The stage beamed Sunday with the smiles of 44 West Virginia Strawberry Festival Junior Royalty Pageant contestants vying to be crowned as one of the 2014 Junior Princesses or the 2014 Junior Royalty Queen at this year's pageant.
Of nine total contestants in the 12-13 year age group, Megan Nicole Weaver of Morgantown took the crown as the 2014 West Virginia Strawberry Festival Junior Royalty Queen. The competition took place at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
"I was shocked that they called me," Weaver said, adding that hearing her name made her feel very happy and excited.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
The 2014 West Virginia Strawberry Festival Junior Queen, Megan Nicole Weaver, 12, of Morgantown, stands next to the 2013 Junior Queen Jazmin Gillum, 14, of Buckhannon.
Weaver is the 12-year-old daughter of Bryan and Darlene Weaver. She also was given the West Virginia Strawberry Spirit award for her age group.
She said this year will be her first experience with the West Virginia Strawberry Festival. As the winner, she will receive a special coronation gown made by Elissa Mills of The Crowning Touch. Weaver succeeds the 2013 Junior Royalty Queen Jazmin Gillum of Buckhannon.
"It was indescribable," Gillum said about her experience serving as the Junior Queen. "There are so many (good experiences), honestly."
Junior princesses this year include Raegan Good of Elkview for the 10-11 age group, Lakyn Campbell of Parkersburg for the 8-9 age group, Katelyn Elizabeth Howes of French Creek for the 6-7 age group and Kayleigh Sue Bennett of Millwood for the 4-5 age group. Campbell, Good, Bennett and Myranda Paige McCauley also were presented with the West Virginia Strawberry Spirit award.
The first runner-up for the 12-13 age group is Autumn Rose Drake of Buckhannon. The second runner-up is Caroline Marie Fluke of Buckhannon.
Breanna Catherine Herrick of New Martinsville is the first runner-up for the 10-11 age group. The second runner-up is Kaylie Bokey of Mt. Clare.
In the 8-9 year age group, Laiken Carley Kesling of Buckhannon is the first runner-up, and Dene'e Collins of Normantown is the second runner-up.
For the 6-7 year age group, Sophia Renee Colo'n of Clarksburg is the first runner-up, and Myranda Paige McCauley is the second runner-up.
For the 4-5 year age group, Gabrielle Cvechko is the first runner-up, and Erica Grace Trader is the second runner-up.
The theme for this year's West Virginia Strawberry Festival is "old traditions and new beginnings." The festival spans from May 10-18 in the heart of downtown Buckhannon. For more information about the festival events, visit www.wvstrawberryfestival.com.