09/30/07 — She's queen of the county fair

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She's queen of the county fair

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 30, 2007 2:02 AM

When she took the stage Friday night, Whitney Grantham had no idea by night's end she would be Queen of the Fair.

The audience loved her -- screaming and yelling her name like they were at a rock concert.

And so did the judges.

It wasn't her sparkling black evening gown or her black high heels that won her the crown. It was her voice -- sharp, strong and projecting -- that brought the crowd to its feet, and the judges to their decision.

Still, Whitney said she was shocked when her name was called and she donned the sash and crown proclaiming her the 2007-08 queen of the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

"I feel weighed down," she said. "I've never worn a crown before. It's heavy."

Ms. Grantham, 15, sang "Don't Rain on My Parade" from the musical "Funny Girl" -- just as if she were in a Broadway theater in New York City.

But the new queen from Southern Wayne High School was humble. She plans to attend a four-year university and major in elementary or music education, and she sees her future as a kindergarten teacher, not a celebrity.

"I wish I could be on Broadway," she said. "I'll just perform for my kindergartners."

After rolls and rolls of pictures with family members and friends, the daughter of Ted and Debbie Grantham and Celena and Doug Smith was finally able to take a breath and think about her year as fair queen.

"I'm really excited," she said. "I like it already. The first thing I'm going to do is get rid of this sash. It's a little too big. But I will probably wear it and the crown to school on Monday, and maybe even after."

She hadn't really planned on being in the pageant.

"It just sort of happened," she said.

But her participation with StageStruck's Traveling Troupe prepared her for both being on stage and performing.

And those preparations got her another recognition Friday -- the Nicole Painter Talent Award.

The pageant's first runner-up was Emily Perkins, from Charles B. Aycock High School, who also won Miss Congeniality.

Deana Whitley from Rosewood High School won second runner-up, and the pageant's third runner-up was Kieona Bynum, also from Charles B. Aycock High School.

Other pageant contestants included Kareema Eady, a sophomore from Eastern Wayne High School; Kiara Payne, a junior from Goldsboro High School; Rebecca Setliff, a junior from Charles B. Aycock High School; Meghan Kornegay, a sophomore from Rosewood High School; Caroline Silva, a junior from Rosewood High School; Heaven Walker, a freshman from Southern Wayne High School; and Amanda Keifer, a senior from Spring Creek High School.