|Olivia Jackson (photo from last summer)
|Olivia Jackson (photo from this summer)|
Olivia Jackson, 9, wasn’t about to let 1,680 miles keep her from completing her duties as the 2007 Little Miss Strawberry queen.
Crowned at last summer’s London Strawberry Festival, the youngster has since moved with her family to El Paso, Texas. Her father, a 25-year employee of Delphi, was transferred after the company’s westside Columbus plant closed last year. Delphi’s headquarters are located in Juarez, Mexico, just over the border from El Paso.
“I told my mom, ‘I’m only going to go down (to Texas) if we’re going to come back for the festival,” Olivia said.
Olivia’s parents, Melvin and Pam, made good on their end of the deal. A few days before the 2008 festival, which ran July 18-21, they packed up the family van and made the trip from their new home to their hometown over the course of two days. Olivia was accompanied by her brothers, Evan, 15, and Avery, 6.
“Technically, when you accept the responsibility of being a Strawberry queen, it is part of your duties to come back to the festival the following year to participate in the queens luncheon and the crowning of that year’s queens,” Pam said.
Olivia took her royal duties seriously. After the festival last year and before the family’s move to Texas in December, she traveled with the other Strawberry queens to several fairs and festivals around Ohio. Then, despite moving several states away, she wanted to see her duties through to the end of her reign. Hence, the trip to London prior to this year’s festival.
“I met the court and I was especially happy to see Danielle again. She was really my friend through all of this,” said Olivia, who looks up to Danielle Stockham, a Jonathan Alder High School graduate and last year’s Miss Strawberry.
The trip was a homecoming for the whole Jackson family. Pam was born and raised in London. Melvin grew up in Mount Sterling. Up until last year, they had spent their entire married life in London, and their children attended St. Patrick School. The festival was a chance to spend time with family and friends.
“We’re lifelong residents of London. The festival is an important event, and we wanted to come back and be part of it,” Pam said.
The bottom line for Olivia was having fun.
“I was happy to see everybody,” she said.