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Hedgesville senior reigns over Mountain State Apple Festival

Hedgesville senior reigns over Mountain State Apple Festival

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Hedgesville High School senior Sydney Morris plan to take her winning to another level.

The 17-year-old from Martinsburg will be crowned Queen Pomona XXXIX during coronation at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19,  at Martinsburg High School as part of the 39th annual Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival. The festival is from Thursday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 21 in downtown Martinsburg.

The Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival celebrates the agricultural heritage of the Eastern Panhandle.

“I was super surprised because there were 15 awesome young ladies also up for the title so it’s definitely an honor to be the one who was chosen,” Sydney said.

Sydney became inspired to run for Queen Pomona after watching a close, family friend go through the process.

“Watching her through the process was definitely a huge example and showed me that I really wanted to do it and it was something outside of a box — something that I don’t usually do, so I wanted to get out in the community because I love being a part of the community and it was an awesome opportunity that I wanted to take,” Sydney said.

The process involved first a lot of paperwork.

“I had to go through the application process so I had to apply for it and I had to fill out a resume and tell them about myself such as everything I’m involved in with school wise and in the community, so that wasn’t too hard.”

As Sydney advanced to the interview stage in the competition, she sought help from an owner of a local orchard and past queen.

“Then I had to prepare for the interview that was going to be held so I got help from an owner of a local orchard. I sat down and talked with him about the apple industry in our area,” she said, noting that she had help from a former Queen Pomona to get through the interview process. 

The Mountain State Apple Harvest grand feature parade will be Saturday, Oct. 20. (Herald-Mail file photo)

She was able to push through her feelings of nervousness by preparing before the interview.

“I was really nervous because you’re sitting there at a table with a bunch of adults so it’s very nerve-racking, but we’re prepared for it going into it so I was pretty confident,” she said.

After the coronation, Sydney will participate in the queen’s reception and grand ball at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 20 at 8 a.m., she will attend the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast and also participate in various activities at the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds.

“I’m looking forward to making all the memories with the other 14 girls on the court and just getting to know people and helping out our community,” Sydney said.

College is her next journey where she plans to major in exercise physiology so that she can later get into medical school and specialize in dermatology.

Winning the title as Queen Pomona has opened the doors of opportunity for Sydney to pursue an academic career and she suggests to future competitors to keep their inner qualities to help through the process.

“I would just tell them to definitely go for it because it’s a bigger opportunity, it makes you look good for college resumes and scholarships but also to just not be nervous because the people who are involved and on the committee for apple harvest are super nice and they’re there to watch you succeed and just go into it with an open mind, confident and make sure you prepare ahead of time,” she said.

Top photo: Sydney Morris of Hedgesville, W.Va., will be crowned Queen Pomona XXXIX Friday night as part of the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival. (Courtesy of Jenny DiCola Photography)

Schedule of events

Thursday, Oct. 18

 5:30 p.m. – Royal Gala. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Hollywood Ballroom, Charles Town, W.Va.; social at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. $35 single; $60 couple. Advance ticket purchased required by calling 304-229-5623.

Friday, Oct. 19

• 10 a.m. – Pomona Ladies Brunch at Holiday Inn, 301 Foxcroft Ave, Martinsburg; $20 per person. Call 304-261-1946

• 1 p.m. – Apple pie judging at Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds Indoor Exhibit Hall

• 6 p.m. – Coronation of Queen Pomona XXXIX at Martinsburg High school Auditorium, 701 S. Queen St., Martinsburg, W.Va. Free.

• 7 to 11 p.m. – Queen’s Reception at Holiday Inn, Martinsburg. Meet Queen Pomona, her court and their escorts. $25 per person. Tickets may be purchased at or at Flowers Unlimited, City National Bank of Inwood, W.Va., or the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Saturday, Oct. 20

• 8 a.m. to noon –  Kiwanis pancake breakfast. Menu includes sausage gravy, apples, scrambled eggs, toast, juice, and coffee. $6 in advance or $7 at the door; free for ages 6 and younger. Advanced tickets being sold at Martinsburg locations including, Patterson’s Drug Store, 134 S. Queen St.; Flowers Unlimited, 144 N. Queen St., and the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce, 198 Viking Way. Tickets are also available from any Kiwanis member

• 8 a.m. - Bob Elmer Rotary Sports Breakfast at Holiday Inn. Admission is $20 and tickets are available at Depot Florist; Dana’s Tuxedo, and Flowers Unlimited in downtown Martinsburg. Guest speakers include Rocky Bleier, celebrity guest speaker. Athletes from local schools will be recognized.

• 9 to 10 a.m. – Apple arrangement events at Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds

• 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Pop-up shops and Arts Fair

• 10:30 a.m. – Apple Trample (walkers)

• 11:30 a.m.- 5KApple Trample (runners start)

• 1 p.m.- Grand feature parade, North King Street to North Queen Street, downtown Martinsburg

• 2 to 6 p.m. – Beer and Wine Fest

• 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Performance by Nathan Bartgis Band

• 7 to 11 p.m. – Panhandlers’ Square Dance at Eagle School Intermediate, Eagle School Road, Martinsburg. Special appearance by Queen Pomona XXXIX, the Festival Court and their escorts. Early rounds begin at 7 p.m. and square dancing from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Admission is $12 at the door. Spectators will not be charged. Square dance attire is required. For more information, call co-presidents Ron and Charlotte Sowers at 304-268-7619

Sunday, Oct. 21

• 8 a.m. – Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Pop up shows and Art Fairs

• 10 a.m. – Norwalk Car Show at fairgrounds

• 1 p.m. – Baby Appleseed announced at fairgrounds

• 5 p.m. – Drawing for quilt

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