NORTH FORK, NY — A sweet tradition continued Saturday as a new Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Queen was crowned at the Annual Strawberry Festival in Mattituck.
Francesca Lynch, the 2022 Strawberry Queen, is heading into her senior year at Southold High School. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, belongs to the environmental club and the jazz band, and is a news anchor for her school’s broadcast station.
Francesca is also a cross-country state-level athlete, and runs her own small business, FMLbabytees — donating much of the profits to charities such as the Red Cross, to help Ukraine, and breast cancer research, she said.
“I am so excited to be this year’s Strawberry Queen as it gives me a new chance to give back to my community. I have dreamt of being the Strawberry Queen since I was a little girl so this has really been a dream come true,” Francesca said. “It has given me this new opportunity to step up in our local community and be a role model for kids to look up to.”
Ava Grace Sannino, 2021 Strawberry Queen, addressed the crowd before the ceremonial passing of the strawberry scepter.
“This past year has been absolutely incredible with all of the community service I have been able to do in this position,” Ava Grace said. “I’d like to give thanks to Kait’s Angels and Darla Doorhy.”
Kait’s Angels is an organization that helps local families in need in memory of Kaitlyn Doorhy, a past Strawberry Queen who died while away at college. Kait’s Angels was founded to help people in the community, continuing Kaitlyn’s legacy of giving and hosting a series of fundraisers.
“It’s been a tradition for present and former Strawberry Queens to volunteer at these events and it’s been a truly inspiring experience to give back to local families in need,” Ava Grace said.
She also thanked the Mattituck Lions Club.
The proceeds from the annual Strawberry Festival are used to help those in need in the community year-round, she said.
The experience of serving as Strawberry Queen has been life-changing, Ava Grace said.
“I’ve learned so much about my community and have loved giving back; it is definitely something I want to continue for the rest of my life,” she said.