By Christy Swift

The Florida Watermelon Association Queen Program has been in place since 1965, and the 2022 Queen and runners up have just been chosen! These young women were selected as public ambassadors representing Florida’s watermelon industry across the state and beyond. The pageant is run by the Florida Watermelon Association, whose mission is to support research, education, and promotion of the fresh Florida watermelon industry. Seven young ladies competed in a three-day competition for the 2022 Florida Watermelon Queen title with an interview, video, speech, sportswear competition, impromptu question, and evening gown competition. And the winners are:

Queen Amber Danielle Boykin

Amber Danielle Boykin, 22, from Plant City, FL took home the title of Florida Watermelon Queen for 2022. Amber is the daughter of Marty and Jennifer Boykin and a business major at Polk State College. Amber has been involved in the agriculture industry since joining 4-H at the age of 10. She showed livestock throughout her school years, continuing with FFA in high school. Amber was the Strawberry Growers Association Ambassador her senior year in high school. She has also won several pageants, including Harvest Queen (2016), Miss Manatee (2018), Miss Lakeland (2019), and Miss Florida Everglades (2020).

Amber loves to shop and go boating, hunting, and fishing. One of her dreams is to serve on a mission trip to an area where she’s needed. She said she is glad that the Florida Watermelon Association fundraises for All Children’s Hospital, a charity that is close to her heart. “I’m looking forward to this amazing year,” Amber said. “I am super blessed with the opportunity and hope to make the watermelon industry proud.”

Kiersten Waldron

The FIRST RUNNER up in the competition was 22-year-old Kiersten Waldron from Sebring. Kiersten is the daughter of Reverend Scott and Michelle Waldron and a psychology student at the University of South Florida. Kiersten was DeSoto Queen in 2018 and was 2nd Runner Up at the state level that same year.

Kiersten loves to travel anywhere from Tennessee to the Florida Keys. She loves the lake, the beach, and reading. A dream of hers is to visit New York City at Christmastime. Kiersten wants to use her position to help people understand the importance of standing behind our American farmers. “It’s important that we are dependent on no one other than ourselves. Two percent of our population are farmers and they are providing for a large portion of our people,” she said. “People need to be knowledgeable about buying American and buying from Florida.”

Alyssa Marie Armentrout

The SECOND RUNNER UP, Alyssa Armentrout, is a 21-year-old criminal justice student at Southeastern University. She is originally from Sebring, and her parents are Jonathan and Amanda Armentrout. Alyssa was the 2017 DeSoto County Jubilee winner and 1st Runner Up for the 2019 Desoto County Watermelon Queen pageant. She was also 3rd Runner Up for Miss Highlands County in 2018.

Alyssa is very excited to have placed at the state level. “It’s been truly amazing to get to learn more and more about the industry and the people behind it. I’ve met some of the best and nicest people during the convention,” she said. Alyssa’s studies keep her busy, but when she does have free time she enjoys working out, cooking, listening to podcasts, and getting a nap in between.

In addition, the Jubilee award went to Kendall Prescott. The new queen will begin her reign in March of 2022. Until then, current Queen Bethany Barfield of Gainesville will finish out the 2021 season. She has served two years as Watermelon Queen due to the Covid pandemic.

These young women were selected as public ambassadors representing Florida’s watermelon industry across the state and beyond.

The Queen program is managed by Florida Watermelon promotions Coordinator Debra Harrison, who has been involved in the watermelon industry for almost 40 years. Debra is an Arcadia resident and has been running the Queen Program for close to 15 years.