FARWELL - For the second time in three years, Jersey Shore Area High School is home to the Flaming Foliage Festival Queen as Leigh Ann Eisenhower was named the 65th annual Queen Sunday afternoon. It is the school's sixth overall title to the crown.
Moments before being named Miss Flaming Foliage Festival 2013, Leigh Ann also was named Miss Photogenic, a title that the judges choose from the contestants as they have their picture taken upon arriving for registration Friday afternoon.
Leigh Ann's father, Walt, could not have been more proud of his daughter and appreciative of the town of Renovo and FFF committee members.
KEVIN RAUCH/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
The Flaming Foliage Queen was chosen Sunday. Here, Queen Leigh Ann?Eisenhower, of Jersey Shore Area School District, is surrounded by her court, second runner-up and Miss Congeniality Miss Bald Eagle Area Kourtney Vermillion at left and first runner-up Miss Williamsport Livia Nash. Eisenhower, who also was named Miss Photogenic, makes her first appearance as queen next month during the annual Christmas Parade.
KEVIN RAUCH/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
Leigh Ann?Eisenhower, of the Jersey Shore Area School District, is crowned Sunday at the Flaming Foliage Festival near Renovo.
"I grew up in Mill Hall so I had been to Flaming Foliages in the past intermittently, but it's been a long time. I forgot just how much of a great occasion this is for the community to put on its signature weekend," Eisenhower said.
When asked how he felt when he heard his daughter's name announced, the proud dad simply said, "awesome," before smiling ear to ear.
"It was such a treat and surprise. The community choir was wonderful at the banquet Saturday night, the parade is such a huge event, to have her win on top of everything else is just something that we never could have expected," Eisenhower said.
Leigh Ann's mother, Doreen, said, too, that the experience of the weekend spent in Renovo was enough in itself and that her daughter was announced the queen only added another element.
"I was glad when she was chosen to come here because you know that she is going to be in the company of driven young adults. These are students that are chosen to represent their school. Just being in their presence for a weekend was a great opportunity," Doreen said.
According to Leigh Ann, her mother's expectations of being around driven peers were exceeded.
"I never could have expected this - all weekend I sat around other girls that, when speaking to the judges, were giving such wonderful answers. I was just fortunate to be around them for a few days," Leigh Ann said.
Ironically, when asked, just as her dad was, what she thought when she heard her name announced as the winner, she gave the same one-word answer and also flashed a beautiful smile: "Awesome."
Miss Williamsport Livia Nash was named first runner-up. A year ago, winner Olivia Kuzio also represented Williamsport.
In a memorable moment that really no one ever remembered seeing before, Miss BEA Kourtney Vermillion received a standing ovation from all of the other contestants on stage when she was announced the second runner-up.
It was obvious that Kourtney made an impression on her peers as she received 24 of the 29 votes, another rarity that marked an end to a special weekend for the BEA representative.
Sunday's coronation was a culmination to a weekend that, despite a rain-soaked Thursday and Friday night, was met with perfect parade weather of sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s on Saturday.
The young Leigh Ann Eisenhower now forever will be linked with the small town of Renovo and will make her first appearance there as reigning queen next month when she will take part in the annual Christmas Parade.