COLUMBIA, SC — Blakely Sullivan Johnson, the 19-year-old daughter of Dean and Brent Johnson of Denmark, SC, was crowned South Carolina Watermelon Queen at ceremonies, here, during the 45th annual meeting of the South Carolina Watermelon Association. Laura Schurlknight, the 2016 state watermelon queen, introduced the three queen finalists.
Johnson currently attends Clemson University, where she is majoring in agricultural education. She plans to graduate with honors and begin using her passion for agriculture in teaching young people about the produce industry. She comes from a family involved in farming and agriculture and has also worked with the Clemson Extension program at the Edisto Research & Education Center in Blackville, SC, under Gilbert Miller.
Ahead for the new queen lies a busy schedule of appearances at schools and grocery stores; on TV and radio shows around the state; at parades in Ehrhardt, Hampton and Pageland in South Carolina, and in Maryland and Delaware; and handing out hydrating watermelon slices at football practices at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, Clemson University in Clemson, Presbyterian College in Clinton and The Citadel in Charleston.
Also on the docket are legislative visits in Washington, DC; appearances at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in New Orleans, and the South Carolina State Fair; and, with assistance by the national watermelon queen and watermelon queens from other states, handing out cups of watermelon slices to weary runners at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston in March and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, in October.