Looking back on making Peach Pageant history

Published 12:09 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Halle Sullivan was the first person to win all four of the Peach Pageant titles.

After being Little, Young and Junior Miss Peach, Sullivan was named the Miss Peach queen during the 2021 Miss Peach pageant.

As it is nearly time to crown her successor, Sullivan took some time to reflect on her reign and her overall Peach Queen experience.

She said the year was “absolutely” everything she had expected. She had wanted the title to be able to pick the outfits for the Queens “because that was always the fun part, and just being the older one and just setting that example for younger girls has been awesome.”

“It was just really fun to be a Miss to the other girls and just showing them how a Miss Peach should be,” Sullivan said.

She thought she would be asked more questions about peaches during her reign. She had prepared for this by talking to Colby Jones at Durbin Farms about peach farming.

Learning just how dependent the crop is on the right weather conditions each year was especially interesting to her.

One of the first major events during the Peach Queen’s reign is delivering a basket of peaches to the governor.

Sullivan has met three governors during her various titles in the pageant.

“I have always enjoyed meeting the governor because I have had the opportunity to meet so many of them,” Sullivan said. “My Little Miss year I met Bob Riley. My Young Miss year I met Gov. Robert Bentley, and then the past two years (Junior and Miss) I got (to meet) Kay Ivey. It has been a real fun experience … It is always an exciting adventure when we go there.”

Her favorite event the Peach Queens do out of town is the peanut festival in Dothan.

“It is so much fun going to the fair the night before and staying up super late,” Sullivan said.

One of her favorite in county activities this year has been visiting residents at The Gardens of Clanton. The queens decorated trees at Christmastime. On another occasion, they delivered doughnuts and painted residents’ nails.

For those competing for the 2022 Miss Peach Queen title, Sullivan encourages them to have confidence.

“I know a lot of girls get nervous for the on-stage question portion,” she said. “There is really nothing to worry about, just that you are being yourself. Just get out there and do your best.”

Throughout the years that Sullivan has competed in the pageant, she has gained valuable public speaking experience.

“The reason I am able to speak to people and be outgoing and know how to hold a conversation with people is from the Peach interviews that I have been in,” Sullivan said.

These skills have also helped her in competing in larger out-of-county pageants.

“It has been easy to go into in an interview and just speak what’s on my mind or answer the questions because Peach has really prepared me for that,” Sullivan said.

She competed in Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen for two years, gaining the titles of Miss Friendliest City’s Outstanding Teen and Miss Tuscaloosa’s Outstanding Teen.

“In July, I am actually going to compete in a prelim to do Miss Alabama Teen USA, so I am excited about that,” Sullivan said.

The next adventure for Sullivan is college.

She said graduating high school “was awesome.”

Sullivan has enrolled at the University of Alabama where she will major in marketing.

She said she also hopes to have a minor in communication studies with a pre-law track.

“I want to be a sports lawyer because I have always been involved with sports,” Sullivan said. “My brother has always played, so it is kind of easy to understand what all they go through.”

In this role, she would be working with “the contracts with the players and like if they got into any awful disagreements or something, I would handle the legal stuff to it.”

Marketing became an interest as a part of her recent modeling work.

“A lot of people have talked to me about marketing models or marketing myself, so that is also another option, if I don’t go to law school,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan received a $2,000 scholarship with the Miss Peach title. She also received the River Bank & Trust Scholarship for $500.

“Peach really helped me start that process of raising money for school,” Sullivan said.

This year, $10,000 in scholarships will be awarded during the Peach Pageants.

“I think that is a really big deal,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s involvement with the Peach Festival will go beyond her reign as she joins the Forever Queens, a group organized in honor of the 75th Anniversary.

“Since I was the first one to win all four, I feel like it is a big honor to be put into that,” Sullivan said.

The Forever Queens will reunite for lunch soon as a part of this inaugural year for the organization.