My nearly three months as Miss Delaware has been very busy, and to say the end of July was any different would be a fib! Sunday the 25th my favorite little girls came from New Jersey with their family to visit! Lilliana, Isabella, Donna and Matt joined me as I visited the Delaware State Fair. That day I was able to just be Kayla, and enjoy riding the rides, and eating typical 'fair food' with the Hakims! State Auditor, Tom Wagner and his daughter joined us while we rode rides and we had a blast! A local 4-Her was kind enough to give all of us a tour of the animal barns, and Lilliana and Isabella were able to ride a horse! Before we left, I was able to eat some of my favorite food, deep-fried Oreos and some homemade lemonade!
Monday I was at the Delaware State Fair once again, to judge the Chocolate Contest in the Dover building alongside renowned musician and fellow Delawarean, Joel Andrus! Check him out! For those of you who know me personally, you know that I was in my glory that morning! I LOVE CHOCOLATE!!! I tasted some of the best chocolate recipes and some of the most unique I have ever seen! I truly hope they will have me back to judge next year, even if I am no longer Miss Delaware! Chuck Ivins, Miss Delaware Board Member and Travel Companion escorted me that day and I was able to experience everything I love so much about the fair! I even rode in the parade in a beautiful horse carriage, courtesy of Representative Dave Wilson!
Tuesday I visited for four hours at Absalom Jones Senior Center in Wilmington. I was able to enjoy lunch with the residents, sign autographs, speak about my platform and perform a dance for them! I drove immediately back down to Dover to receive an honor from the Kent County Levy Court with Miss Delaware 2009, Heather Lehman. What a great day this was!
Wednesday was my most memorable day as Miss Delaware thus far. I visited the Children's Beach House in Lewes, DE where I was asked to speak about being "different" and turning it into a positive thing. Let me tell you- this is the most incredible place I have ever seen!!! Having thought I had seen every inch of the beach, since I grew up so close, I was beyond shocked to find this beautiful property! I expected a typical beach house, and ultimately found this grand facility that offers an overnight camp for children/teens with a disability. These children are given the opportunity to take painting and sculpting classes, play on the beach, enjoy the water from inside a boat, and so much more! If you are ever looking for a local cause to give a donation (other than the Miss Delaware Organization, CMN and NAAF, of course!) then please consider donating to this magnificent cause. They are run completely by donation, and every child who attends this camp has a life changing experience. Without the staff and doctors/nurses who are on-site 24 hours a day, these teens could not experience an overnight camp. What a terrific organization!!!
I can't share any more details because I spoke about my experience at the Children's Beach House in a video for the Miss America Pageant, so tune in later to hear the full story!
Thursday I was at the Delaware State Fair all day long with Governor Jack Markell to celebrate Governor's Day! His wife, Carla, and two children spent the day with him as well and I really enjoyed getting to know the more personal side of him and his family! We walked around, rode a few rides, visited each building and stuck to our very strict schedule! Governor Markell and I participated in the Egg Toss Competition, facilitated by the FFA, and although we did not win (like he and Heather, Miss DE 2009 did) I think we did a great job! And I must say, the toss that fell on the ground was flung by the Governor himself :) So I don't intend to let him live that down!
I performed at the Governor's dinner in the Harrington Raceway and Casino, and was able to see my Uncle, Harvey Kenton and Aunt Jeanie!
That day I participated in the Pig Kissing Contest which is a fundraiser for the Delaware State Fair Exhibitor's College Scholarship! I was thrilled to be a part of this great cause, and also embarrass myself in front of the crowd, while doing the chicken dance! Governor Markell even chose to rearrange his schedule to come watch me compete! The funniest part of all was the pig's reaction to coming face-to-face, snout-to-snout with me. He squealed, and kicked and scared me half to death! Obviously he has something against blondes.
I traveled to Wilmington that night to stay with my Executive Director and we left early Friday morning to visit Atlantic City, NJ for the Maine Invitational. **This was my sixth state that month! I was able to meet a few of my Miss America sisters including Miss Connecticut, Miss Rhode Island, Miss Maine, Miss New Jersey and Miss District of Columbia! We toured the Convention Center where the applause of former Miss America pageants still rings, and blood/sweat and tears of former Miss Americas has been left on the beautiful stage. If you are a Miss America fan and have never visited the Convention Center, I really encourage you to do so. I have memories from sitting in the audience there, supporting Miss Delaware 2003, Erin Williams.
We also walked the boardwalk, took some fun photos in the sand, had dinner at the White House (a famous sub shop), and toured the Sheraton, where there is lots of Miss America memorabilia and Miss America 2010, Caressa Cameron's evening gown is displayed. Debi and I returned to Wilmington that evening (thankfully we found our way back!). The next day was Kevin's family reunion followed by the State 4-H Banquet, where I presented the awards! This was also the final night of the Delaware State Fair, so I was sure to partake in the last bit of 'fair food' that I would experience until next year!
I had a meeting the next day, and was even able to sleep in a bit! Overall, July was a great month and I was thrilled to spend as much time as I did at the Delaware State Fair! Check back to read about my next month as Miss Delaware and more of my journey to Miss America!
Have a blessed day!