Meet the 2022 Peanut Queen contestants! |

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

***See the exclusive interview at the end of this article

GRAPELAND — The 77th Annual Peanut Festival is scheduled to begin next week in downtown Grapeland this week. One of the most beloved traditions each year has to be the crowning of a new Peanut Queen.

This year, there are four contenders vying for the title, each a senior at Grapeland High School. D’Linda Mahaffey is the teacher who coordinates the program and helped the Messenger set up an interview with the young girls. You will find a video version of this interview at the end of this story.

So here are your 2022 Peanut Queen candidates:

Daria Konkova

Exchange student from Ukraine

Parents: Julia Konkova, Alexander Konkov

Local host family: Channin and Brad Spisak

Sponsor: Elite Fitness

Involved in: Cross Country and Tennis

Post-Graduation: Considering a Business Degree

“I won a scholarship and came to the United States last year. In Ukraine we don’t have sports at school but here there is a wide variety of sports and extracurricular activities. It was really different but I appreciate that. I love mathematics! It’s just something I’ve enjoyed since childhood. I may forget all the formulas I learned in math class, but I will have the ability to think logically. I’m so excited about the Peanut Queen contest! It’s something I’ve never done before.”

Marley Duhon

Parents: Kim and Randy Duhon

Sponsor: Grapeland Noon Lions Club

Involved in: Varsity Cheer, Varsity Golf

Post-Graduation: Will have completed an associate’s degree in May, plans to attend Sam Houston State University to major in psychology with a minor in criminal justice to become a child behavior therapist

“Some of my favorite classes are my college classes. I have a lot of psychology classes that I take now – psychology is my favorite. I took all the health science classes at Grapeland. The Festival experience peanut was great but nerve wracking! I’m very nervous about the contest. But it was a great experience and I can’t wait to compete!

Emily Hanna

Parents: Mark and Teresa Nelson; David Hanna

Sponsor: Mark Hanna Jr. CPA

Involved in: Varsity Cheer

Post-Graduation: Considering getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to become a labor and delivery nurse

“I do cheerleading, it’s pretty much my only extracurricular activity. My favorite subject in school is health science. School is a little stressful right now, but we’re getting through it! festival is really fun and exciting! I love the band – couldn’t have asked for more girls to do it with. It’s stressful. I’m a little behind on some things, but I’m catching up !

Alexis Lopez

Parents: Tabitha Charanza and Chris Lopez, Tonya McQueen (grandmother)

Sponsor: SFC Assessment Service

Involved in: First year not participating in extracurricular activities to focus on studies

After Graduation: To attend Texas A&M to pursue a psychology degree and become a therapist

“My favorite subject is English. I like to write – it’s just something I do well. School this year was tough and different from last year. Working for the Peanut Festival was absolutely wonderful!I race against three lovely ladies.They are so much fun and Mrs. Mahaffey was also very helpful – she was really supportive.

Competitors will participate in the 77th Annual Peanut Festival Parade on Saturday, October 15 at 10 a.m. for the next week.

Greg Ritchie can be contacted at [email protected]

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