Since 1964 the National Watermelon Queens have been a shining part of the watermelon promotion team, sharing recipes, activities, and the nutritional importance of watermelon all across the country. Recently, we had the opportunity to catch up with our 2020 National Watermelon Queen, Paige Huntington, to talk about what she has learned during her time as queen, her favorite way to eat watermelon, and how 2020 has changed her reign.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Paige Huntington and I am from the small, picturesque town of Jefferson, Texas. I attended Texas A&M University – Texarkana for my undergrad and am now attending the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler for my Master’s in Public Health. I have a red lab named Boudin and a black lab named Forrest and they are my world! One of my favorite hobbies is hunting.
2. What has been your favorite part about being the National Watermelon Queen?
My favorite thing about my reign this year is getting to meet people in our industry and learn their Watermelon Stories. My goal this year was to get to know everyone’s watermelon story, how watermelon has impacted their lives, and what it means to them.
3. How have the challenges of 2020 changed your reign as Watermelon Queen?
This year we have had to adapt our roles in the industry to meet the social requirements of today’s society due to the global pandemic. We have had to become solution-based thinkers to come up with different ways to promote our favorites fruit since we aren’t able to do things such as in store promotions and marathons.
4. What are some of the creative promotions you’ve done this year to promote watermelon?
We have had some wonderful promotions this year despite the pandemic producing challenges. Normally, the NWQ does not have the opportunity to visit our wonderful growers and learn their stories and this year I have had the opportunity to do just that! Although COVID-19 put our Farm Tours on hold after we visited a number of growers in the state of Texas, we adapted again with a series called Farm Friday where we feature a number of watermelon growers across our great nation and their stories. I have also created a series of “How To” videos where I teach our viewers how to make recipes that include watermelon and how to do watermelon crafts! We have also, with the help of the NWPB been working on our Giving Back Promotions where we are able to donate watermelons to food banks across the US in order to spread smiles one slice at a time.
Check Out Paige’s YUMMY watermelon for breakfast tutorial
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5. What skills/life lessons have you learned through the Watermelon Queen program?
I have learned how to improve my social media posts to connect with our viewers and our members in our wonderful industry. I have also learned how to think outside of the box to create new ways to support our industry.
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6. What words of advice do you have for next year’s National Watermelon Queen?
BE READY. Be ready for a life changing experience. Be ready for adventure. Be ready for lifelong friendships. Be ready to be YOU. There aren’t enough words to express how absolutely incredible the individuals in our industry are. They give their all each and every day to put a smile on people’s faces that they have never met and may possibly never meet through their wonderful fruit. This job is one of the most rewarding jobs that you will ever have. So just BE READY for wherever it takes you.
7. What is your favorite way to eat watermelon?
My favorite way to eat watermelon is FRESH with just a sprinkle of salt!
8. As you continue to serve as the National Watermelon Queen in 2021, what types of promotional work do you hope to accomplish, either virtually or in person?
Thank you for continuing to serve as the National Watermelon Queen in 2021!