Ashburn crowned queen

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lily Ashburn is crowned Strawberry Queen Friday at the Copper Country Strawberry Festival. Ashburn, who recently graduated from Houghton High School, was sponsored by the Portage Lake District Library.

CHASSELL — Lily Ashburn has been coming to the Strawberry Festival for years. This year it came with a crown.

Ashburn was named Strawberry Queen before a packed crowd at Friday’s competition.

“I think this is super-awesome … this is a great honor to do this,” she said.

Peyton Gast was first runner-up. Vanessa Dulong was named Miss Congeniality.

Friday, contestants answered questions onstage. While results were being tabulated, they also walked around the crowd during the berry auction, showcasing berries from local farmers.

Ashburn had been persuaded to enter the competition by Laura Neves, one of the organizers, who complimented her stage presence. Ashburn was glad she obliged.

“It was a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad I did it,” she said.

That wasn’t Ashburn’s last appearance in the festival. She joined the rest of the candidates in Saturday’s parade.

“And I’m going to have some strawberry shortcake, of course,” she said.