Winning crown ‘feels like a dream’ for new Miss Farmington

Tears streamed down Grace Murphy’s face Wednesday night as she accepted the crown, plaque, and roses that came with her 2016 Miss Farmington title.

Miss Farmington
Grace Murphy waves to a cheering crowd after being crowned Miss Farmington 2016.

“It feels like a dream,” the Mercy High senior said after the 11th annual pageant, which was held at the Farmington Civic Theater. “I am so happy. It’s such an honor to do this.”

Miss Farmington 2016
Miss Farmington 2016 Grace Murphy waits as her predecessor, Sidney Schrand, pins the crown into place.

Sponsored by the Greater Farmington Area Chamber, Murphy selected Darling Divas, a dance program for children, and Hugs for the Homeless as the charities she will promote over the next year. She made her first appearance at a post-pageant party at John Cowley & Sons in downtown Farmington and, with her court – 1st Runner Up Katelyn Brewer, 16, and 2nd Runner Up Sydney Hoffmeyer, 14 – will attend many events and activities during the Greater Farmington Area Founders Festival.

Miss Farmington 2016 contestants
Miss Farmington 2016 contestants show off their activewear. From left: Sarah Cooper, Josie Edwards, Emily Brewer, Grace Murphy, Sydney Hoffmeyer, and Katelyn Brewer.

Also competing were Sarah Cooper, 14, a Farmington High freshman; Josie Edwards, 15, a North Farmington High sophomore; and Emily Brewer, 14, a Farmington High freshman. Pageant judge Kevin Christensen, the City of Farmington’s Economic and Community Development Director, described the job of evaluating the six contestants as “challenging.”

“It was my pleasure to have been invited, and a particular honor and privilege to be part of such a wonderful event,” he said. “This really reflects the great community we have.”

Farmington Mayor Bill Galvin also had a tough time selecting the Mayor’s Essay Award winner, so he made an out-of-the-box decision.

“This year I’m breaking the rules,” he said, giving awards to both Murphy, who wrote about safe schools, and Cooper, who wrote about gun control.

Through the Deloris Riley Educational Grant, Murphy will receive a $2,000 award, Brewer will receive $1,000, and Hoffmeyer will receive $500.

Murphy accepted the Samantha Steckloff Leadership Award and, new this year, the Interview Award. The Aldo Vagnozzi Community Service Award and Dick Tupper Spirit of Miss Farmington Award went to Katelyn Brewer; her sister, Emily, received the Dr. William Nutting Educational Grant. Edwards won an award for selling the largest number of program ads.

Miss Farmington 2015 Sydney Schrand
Miss Farmington 2015 Sydney Schrand

In her farewell appearance, 2015 Miss Farmington Sidney Schrand presented a unique choreographed performance that combined her love of dance and biology. She shared memories of her year in a slide show, and also gave some advice for her successor: “Cherish every moment. The year goes by really fast.”

Walter Sundquist Humanitarian Award
Polly Varhol, center, accepts the Walter Sundquist Humanitarian Award. Pictured left and right, respectively, are emcees Paul Gross and Kelly Duca.

Also honored during the event, Farmington resident Polly Varhol received the Walter Sundquist Humanitarian Award. She is a long-time local election worker and dedicated Governor Warner Mansion volunteer.