DiBenedetto named queen of the Apple Harvest Festival

SOUTHINGTON — With a shiny tierra and a bouquet of flowers, Southington High School senior Sarah DiBenedetto was crowned Apple Harvest Festival’s new queen.

“When you meet her, you like her instantly,” said Kim Horton, one of the hostesses’ organizers. “She has a strong personality. You tend to go toward her.”

The ceremony, held Thursday night at the Aqua Turf Club, also named the hostesses for the 45th annual festival.

DiBenedetto enjoys playing basketball and singing. She is a member of her youth group at St. Thomas Church in Southington, Horton said.

Southington High school seniors Antonia Cavallo, Lily Herman, Alexa Mosley, Natalie Nyerick, Amanda Pedrak, Lindsey Starr, and Mercy High School senior Maisey Ayer were selected to represent the festival as hostesses this year. They will all ride with DiBenedetto in the festival’s parade Oct. 6.

“They’re all wonderful, young, intelligent bright kids,” said festival chairman Jim Champagne. “They’re judged on poise, enthusiasm, a question-and-answer period. It’s heavily personality based.”

Champagne added that it’s a rather lengthy process to try out for the position of queen or hostesses, a tradition that goes back at least 30 years.

“They applied as juniors, and spent all summer at events like Music on the Green, the Elks Club and all sorts of events throughout the community,” he said. “They all got to know each other really well. It’s such a nice thing to see, that they all became friends.”

Julia Berardinelli, parks and recreation office assistant, was at the ceremony Thursday night and manages the website for the Apple Harvest Festival.

“During the season, they do lots of volunteer work, get really involved with the community,” she said. “Then during the festival, they do everything. They go anywhere help is needed.”

The Apple Harvest Festival runs Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13. This year’s theme is “A Harvest of Memories.” Admission, parking and entertainment are free.

It’s situated on the Town Green and draws about 100,000 annually, according to Champagne.

The family-oriented event showcases live music and entertainment, arts and crafts booths, food, contests, children’s activities, and carnival rides. Highlights include the parade and a fireworks show.

ebritton@record-journal.com (203) 317-2208 Twitter: @EveBritton



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