New Plant City Strawberry Queen makes history

Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 5:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 5:10 p.m.

PLANT CITY, Fla. The newly crowned Florida Strawberry Festival queen made pageant history as the sister of a previous winner.

Judges picked 19-year-old Lauren Der during Saturday's competition. Der's sister, Erica, won the crown six years ago. It's the first time sisters have served as queens.

Der is a freshman at Hillsborough Community College studying animal science and is active with Cork United Methodist Church's children's ministry.

Sponsors of the Florida Strawberry Festival say several changes were made to this year's pageant, which included increasing the number of contestants from 25 to 32 and raising the academic standards from a 2.75 grade-point average to a 3.0. They also did away with the swimsuit competition, in favor of casual wear.

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