Friday, October 12, 2012

1939 Turkey Festival Queen's Coronation

The coronation of the 1939 Turkey Festival Queen drew an estimated 4, 000 spectators to Wilson Hall on the Madison College campus. The event took place at 4:30 in the afternoon on Monday, September 4, 1939. It was one of the highlights of the festival’s opening day activities.

The ceremony began with musical selections played by Miss Dolly Armentrout and/or sung by a men’s chorus under the direction of Professor Nelson T. Huffman. The procession was led by two trumpeters and the 50 ladies-in-waiting, all of whom were local high school girls. Next came 50 princesses each representing the Virginia county from which she hailed/came. Following the princesses were four flower girls; Miss Natalie Zirkle, Miss Alice Jean Pickett, Miss Elizabeth Switzer, and Miss Anne Switzer. Each flower girl carried a bouquet of fall flowers which she strew along the path. Miss Helen Wine and Miss Cleta Liskey attended the Queen as maids-of-honor. George Grattan IV and William Thomas served as the crown bearer and scepter bearer respectively. The festival queen entered to a burst of applause from the audience.

Miss Ruth Wampler had the honor of being crowned the 1939 Turkey Festival Queen. U.S. Senator Harry Flood Byrd placed the crown of white turkey feathers upon the queen’s head. Bridgewater College President Dr. Paul H. Bowman presented the queen with her scepter. Before the recessional began Reverend Beverly Tucker White offered a prayer and Miss Sibyl Shover sang a solo.

Do you want to know more about the 1939 Turkey Festival Queen’s coronation ceremony? You can read about it on the Daily News-Record microfilm reels at Massanutten Regional Library.

McNeill, J. M. “Queen Rockingham’s Coronation Stately Event of Rare Beauty; Senator Byrd Places Crown.” Daily News-Record [Harrisonburg, VA] 5 September 1939.

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