By Brenda Eubanks Burnette
Leila Sabet, Miss Florida Citrus 2020, virtually started her year of service in June by competing in the very first virtual Miss America preliminary pageant in Florida. Due to COVID-19, Miss Florida Citrus appearances have not been as prolific as in past years. However, as restrictions have eased, Sabet has been invited to several industry events.
Her first non-virtual appearance was at LongHorn Steakhouse in Winter Haven, where she was awarded her crown and sash and met Michaela McLean, the former Miss Florida Citrus crowned Miss Florida, who placed in the Top 15 at the Miss America Pageant last year. Sabet also met Ann Daniel Adams, a forever Florida Citrus Queen and Miss Florida. Adams was a Florida Citrus Queen/Miss Florida in 1954 and first runner-up at the Miss America Pageant to Lee Meriwether.
In October, Sabet was on hand for the dedication of the first installation of the Vero Heritage Citrus Label Trail at the Indian River Citrus Museum. Sabet, along with George Hamner Jr., sponsor of the “Flo” citrus label sign, helped unveil the first of four signs that will be displayed in the Vero Beach area. Afterward, Hamner gave Miss Florida Citrus her first tour of a citrus grove and packinghouse to help assist her in understanding the industry and to enable her to answer questions from the public during future appearances.
This month, the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association brought her to Quail Creek Plantation for her first taste of a Fun Shoot fundraiser, where she tried her hand at skeet shooting. In her words: “You probably won’t see me on a skeet-shooting team anytime soon, but I’m always up for a challenge!”
After the Fun Shoot, photos were taken for an upcoming virtual school promotion with the Florida Department of Agriculture. The promotion entails doing virtual Citrus Squeeze events with schools across the state. Sabet also hopes to do a video challenge this year in time for National OJ Day on May 4. People will be encouraged to “Show us how you OJ Your Day!” Stay tuned for details and start making plans to make your own “OJ Your Day!” videos.
Squeeze Miss Florida Citrus into your event — whether in person or virtually! Contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at 561-351-4314 or MFCitrus81@gmail.com to schedule an appearance.