The National Watermelon Association’s annual conference took place in February. The five-day event includes lots of activities, but one of the highlights is the crowning of the new National Watermelon Queen. This year’s queen is Amber Nolin from Enterprise, Alabama.
Amber is currently studying food and nutrition at the University of Florida. During her year as queen, Amber will have a busy schedule, traveling the nation and representing the watermelon industry at state fairs, conventions, trade shows, festivals and in-store events.
To help everyone get to know the National Watermelon Queen a little better, I recently interviewed Amber via email.
THANKS FOR AGREEING TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS. HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED NOW THAT YOU’RE THE NATIONAL WATERMELON QUEEN?
There has been a lot more traveling, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Overall, I’d say the biggest change for me has been trying to manage school and my busy role as National Watermelon Queen. There have been many late nights in hotel rooms studying and doing homework, but every minute is completely worth it. I feel so blessed and honored to have this opportunity and know that I will have the year of a lifetime.
EVERY WATERMELON QUEEN HAS SOME SORT OF BACKGROUND TIE TO WATERMELON. WHAT’S YOURS?
I wouldn’t say that I had a background of watermelons, just childhood memories. The one that stands out the most was as a child, during the summer with my cousins, we would cut a watermelon in half and eat every last piece of the flesh and then we would float the rind on the pond and pretend it was a boat. I also can remember helping my dad pick the best watermelon out of the patch and loading up the trailer as full as we could.
WHAT PART OF BEING WATERMELON QUEEN ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?
I absolutely love traveling, but the one thing that I am looking most forward to is being able to meet people not only in the United States, but all over the world. I just traveled to Toronto, Canada. I was there for four days and was able to meet people from all over Canada, Italy, Guatemala, and South America. In my opinion, there aren’t many 21-year-olds who have an opportunity like that, and for that I am so grateful.
NOW THAT YOU’VE BEEN CROWNED, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’D LIKE TO MAKE DURING YOUR TIME AS WATERMELON QUEEN?
I know for me, not coming from a watermelon-farming family, I had no idea of the process of getting the watermelons from the field to the consumer’s table. During my reign, I hope to educate people about that process. It has given me a whole new respect for the American farmer. People don’t realize all of the sleepless nights, hard work, money, and love for agriculture that a famer puts into his crops. In my life, I know that understanding and seeing this process firsthand has made me appreciate the produce that you see in the retail store.
EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE ONLY BEEN QUEEN FOR THREE MONTHS, WHAT’S BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR REIGN SO FAR?
Children hold such a dear place in my heart, so my first school promotion has definitely stood out. It was actually on my birthday, and I could not have chosen a more perfect place to be. I was able to read the famous children’s book, “A Watermelon Day,” and we also helped the students plant their very own seeded and seedless watermelons. I had a blast!
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THE GIRLS OUT THERE WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE A WATERMELON QUEEN SOMEDAY?
If I could pass on one piece of advice, it would be to never take for granted the opportunities that God gives you. Looking back on my year as the Alabama Watermelon Queen, and even now as the National Queen, I have been blessed to have an opportunity that has truly changed my life.