Editor’s Note: This is the outgoing speech by 2015 Fall Festival of Leaves Queen Cheyenne Payne.
This year God has blessed me with this indescribable opportunity and experience that I will treasure for a lifetime.
First, I would like to start by saying thank you to the people and businesses for everything they have done to make this all possible. Some of these include the FFL Committee, Eileen Hatfield, McFadden’s Pharmacy and last but not least, Bobbi Blanton and Vicky Mettler. Words cannot express all that you all do and this community is truly blessed to have people like you!
When I was crowned I felt like this year would last forever, but in all honesty it’s flown by and as I stand here tonight, it’s sort of bitter sweet. Without my family and God, I would not have been able to fulfill this year as Miss Fall Festival of Leaves.
Dad, without Jennifer giving you the idea I would have never joined the pageant last year. Thank you for everything you have sacrificed this year so that I could be the best queen I could for Bainbridge, for always being my biggest fan even when that meant helping me in my dresses when no one else could, for being the man that I always have and always will look up to, for never losing faith or patience with me even when I locked your keys in your truck before a festival, and for being my dad. The endless potential that rests in your eyes inspires me to this day just like it did the day you talked me into getting up on this stage.
This quality time that we’ve gotten to experience is something in today’s modern world that is worth more than gold and I’d like to share some of these times with everyone.
At the Jingle Bell Parade I got in the truck and you said, “Are you really wearing a dress?” and made me go change. Minutes before the Coal Festival Parade started I had noticed some Humane Society dogs ahead of us. I jumped off the float and heard dad yelling at me to get back on, but I know he laughed at my love for dogs. And before that we sat in lawn chairs listening to the OSU game from the truck while eating spray cheese and crackers. During the Dogwood Festival I got asked by a news crew to do an interview and dad stood behind them the whole time giving the “thumbs up.” And at the Wild Turkey Festival he and papaw were the only two men in the building. These moments I will never forget.
Grandma “in the barn,” it’s been an eventful year. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that half of my closet would contain some of the prettiest gowns Ohio had to offer. I have so much to thank you for that we could be here for the entire festival if I listed them all. You’ve helped shape the person I am today and I cannot imagine my life without you. We’ve always been close and I blame that on us sharing the same birthday, but this queen journey has brought us so much closer. You are one of my best friends and I will hold these memories we’ve made along the way close to my heart and I know you will do the same. You deserve the world for all that you do for me. And I cannot thank God enough for giving me a grandma like you. I love you so much. But ladies and gentlemen, don’t think that our adventures are done because my reign is coming to a close. We’re just at the beginning and I cannot wait to see what she and I get into next.
Mom and Jake: Thank you for supporting me in every way, helping when you could, and coming to every event that your busy schedules allowed. It means more than you know. I love you both. And I am more than blessed to have you guys in my life.
Papaw and Grandma Payne: You guys mean a lot to me. I am thankful every day for the time and the memories that I’ve gotten to share this past year. And I thank God for granting me with such amazing people to call my grandma and grandpa. I wouldn’t be half the person I am without you guys.
Grandma, thank you for going to the luncheons with me when dad found out they were mainly for women and even if you didn’t like the food, for taking pictures – you’ve made progress with every group picture – for bringing snacks to parade line up, and enjoying the festivals with me. I love you!
Papaw, thank you for going with us to festivals even when you could have gone golfing, for always having candy, and for all the laughs along the way. I love you!
Girls, in just a moment one of your lives will change for the next year. Whoever that might be and your court, wear your crown and sashes with pride. You will hear from every queen this year. Enjoy it. But no matter the outcome, all of you are beautiful beyond words, intelligent, and all deserving. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each and every one of you during the practices. Take pride and hold your heads high for being the only 16 girls with enough courage to get up on this stage to contest for an opportunity of a lifetime. Good luck.
For the last time, I will forever and always be your 2015 Miss Fall Festival of Leaves. Thank you and God bless.