Great weather and great times were had at the 53rd annual Fort Myers Beach Lions Shrimp Festival this past weekend.
After the FMB Chamber's 5K race and a 1 -hour-long parade down Estero Boulevard Saturday, many festival goers made their way down to Lynn Hall Park to enjoy fresh local shrimp at the Food Fun & Crafts Expo and take in the annual Shrimp Festival Queen Pageant at the park's pavilion at 1 p.m.
After the three chosen judges heard a bit about each of the 12 princesses and watched them strut down the steps of the pavilion, Miss Moss Marine's Devin McDaniel was crowned 2011 Shrimp Queen by 2010 Shrimp Queen Kaitlin Conidaris. Miss Kater Construction's Jamie Costa was chosen as the first runner-up and Katy Bonkowski, sponsored by Charley's Boathouse Grill, was selected as second runner-up.
Miss Moss Marine’s Devin McDaniel (middle) was crowned 2011 Shrimp Queen at Lynn Hall Park Saturday. The 53rd annual Fort Myers Beach Lions Shrimp Festival also recognized Miss Kater Construction’s Jamie Costa (right) as the first runner-up and Miss Charley’s Boathouse Grill’s Katy Bonkowski as second runner-up at the pageant.
Lion Fran Peters emceed the pageant and introduced each of the princesses to the judges and festival goers in attendance.
Devin, whose grandfather owns sponsor Moss Marine, attends South Fort Myers High School as senior class president. She lives in Estero with her parents, one sister, two brothers, and two dogs. She has traveled to Europe where she visited five countries.
"My favorite (country) was Italy because it's the prettiest place I've ever seen and their pizza is awesome," said Devin, who wants to go to medical school.
Jamie, the oldest of the princesses, graduated from South Fort Myers High School and currently attends Edison State College as a HOPE scholar.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., she has three sisters and two brothers and would like to be a physician's assistant.
Katy, who hostesses at sponsor Charley's Boathouse Grill, was raised on the Beach and captured two Shrimp Run titles when she was younger and attending Beach Elementary School. She will be touring Australia in the summer as an ambassador with People-to-People. She hopes to attend Ohio State University and become a special education teacher.
The barefoot princesses, age 16-20, received savings bonds and gifts from their respective sponsors.
Other awards and honorees included:
n Miss Congenialty Adrienne Castro, Miss Tommy Tire
n Miss Online Voting Princess Miranda Conidaris, Miss Lani Kai
n Miss People's Choice Missy Gavin, Miss Timbers & Pawnbroker
n Miss Personality Jamie Costa
n Miss Photogenic Devin McDaniel
"All the girls are all winners in my heart," said Peters. "I hope you had fun and will come back next year."
Before the pageant, most of the girls could be seen being escorted down Estero Boulevard in the parade by sponsor Southwest Florida Corvette Club. Wolf Florist was the other sponsor for the pageant.
While the judges finalized their picks, Lion Diane Clifton announced parade category winners:
n Business/Professional 1. Lani Kai/Cincinnati Firemen; 2. Estero Parasail
n Civic Groups/Associations 1. Bayshore Cloggers; 2. Crime Stoppers
n Non-Business Family/Individual 1. Turtle Time; 2. Ron Myer 1950 Ford Antique Car
n Youth Group 1. Beach Baptists Youth Group
n Decorated Cars 1. Beach United Methodist Church;
n Decorated Truck 1. Famous Flag Truck (Bill Yelton)
n Decorated Boat 1. Oyster Bay RV Park
n Marching Unit/Musical 1. Calendar Girls
n Marching Unit/Non-Musical 1. San Carlos RV Park
n Musical Unit/Non-Marching 1. Bayside Kookie Band
n Chairman's Award Beach resident Brent Samuel
On Sunday, while the expo continued, Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, the Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida and representing Historic St. Raphael's Episcopal Church, performed a Blessing of the Fleet ceremony at Lynn Hall Park and off the Beach Pier. The 59-year-old Beach tradition featured a service with prayers, songs and a blessing from the Bishop for all vessels that call Fort Myers Beach their home.
Catholic, Lutheran and Episcopal churches were represented in the Blessing, which began at Lynn Hall Park's pavilion and continued with a procession to the Beach Pier. A wreath was tossed in the Gulf waters in memory of those lost at sea. Zipperer Farms in Fort Myers donated flowers.
All proceeds raised by the Lions Club go to different charities including local eye examinations, the Fort Myers Beach Library for large print and books on tape, Beach Elementary School projects and many local sports teams. Lions also support state projects including the Florida Lions Camp, Southeast Guide Dogs, the Eye Banks and the Conklin Center to help train those with handicaps.