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Gracie Owens crowned Little Miss Peach

Chilton County bowed to its newest member of peach royalty Saturday night, as Gracie Owens was crowned Little Miss Peach in Chilton County High School auditorium.

Also a winner of best casual wear, Owens is the 41st winner of the storied pageant, kicking off this year’s round of peach queen contests.

Afterward, behind the curtain where family members and audiences members showered her with flowers and adoration, Owens expressed a genuine happiness felt by her fellow contestants.

“I feel glad,” Owens said. “I’m so excited everyone was trying their best.”

When asked about her favorite part of the now-memorable night, Owens put it simply.

“It was fun when I won,” she joked.

Taking her final bow across the stage was 2009 Little Miss Peach winner Grace Nolen, who represented the crown with humility and elegance. She gave a heartfelt speech to the audience before handing the Little Miss kingdom to Owens.

“People ask me if I’m ready for this year to be over,” Nolen said. “And I say, ‘Are you kidding me? I love this job.’”

She then took her final walk set to Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable.”

Joining Nolen to crown Owens and congratulate the other contestants were the rest of the 2009 winners, Miss Peach Keela Ray, Junior Miss Peach Jill Vinzant and Young Miss Peach Anna Calhoun.

Owens’ mother Charlotte gave her daughter a swarming hug to congratulate the new queen.

“I’m so proud of you Gracie,” she said to her. “You worked hard.”

Owens was also greeted by her father, James, and two sisters, Olivia and Emma.

The newly crowed queen said she’s most looking forward to meeting the Alabama governor during her reign as Little Miss Peach, be it current Gov. Bob Riley or the next elected official.

Halle Sullivan finished as first alternate, followed by Lily Porter, Kailee Williams and Marybeth Porter. Rounding out the top 10 were Emilee Smith, Abbi Calhoun, Taylee Sullivan, Ivie Littleton and Kassidy Payne.

There were 28 total contestants.

The Young Miss Peach pageant will be held on Monday at 6:30 p.m., the Junior Miss on June 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Miss Peach on June 23 at 6:30 p.m. All will take place at the CCHS auditorium.