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Apple Festival 2013: Ambassador proud of her apple heritage

As Labor Day approached, Madison Vaughn looked forward to her role as the 2013 Apple Ambassador of the 67th North Carolina Apple Festival.


"I am so excited. I always enjoy attending the festival," Vaughn said. "I look forward to the food, the music and the people. But this year it has such a bigger meaning."
Vaughn spent the summer making appearances as the Apple Ambassador at Pardee Hospital's 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Gala, pre-harvest tours, Apple Festival luncheons and a festival kickoff party at Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards.
Her duies varied. She met sponsors and greeted guests. She read her own Apple Festival themed poetry. She modeled a pair of earrings that were offered at a charity auction.
She will meet with N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler at the Mountain State Fair to officially declare September "Apple Month."
"I have learned what I am supposed to do as I go along, which has been fun because you are always introduced to new things at random times," she said. "I had an idea that I would promote the festival and the North Carolina Apple Growers Association, which has been a part of the job. However, I have been able to do so much more."
Throughout the four-day festival the ambassador is expected to not only attend pancake breakfasts and special events, but also speak with apple growers and ride in the King Apple Parade — the queen of all queens. With a long lineage of apple growers in Vaughn's family, she expects many of her relatives to attend the parade.
"My immediate family is not involved in apples. But my grandparents have an orchard and my aunt and uncle grow and sell apples. They are always so supportive of everything that I do and I am very proud of my heritage," said Vaughn.
The "new and interesting" experience has had some unintended perks, preparing the student for opportunities both within and beyond county lines.
"I used to have a hard time speaking to adults and people in the community," she said. "But in the past few months I have had to step out on a limb and become more comfortable talking with others. It will be easier to be confident in what I am saying in not only college interviews but also other interviews down the road."
However, the festivities have a bittersweet undertone for Vaughn, as they signal the beginning of her last year at West Henderson High School.
"It will be hard and challenging with the classes that I am taking, but I am going to revel in everything that is happening by participating in all of the student activities," she said. 'I want to go out with a bang."
Vaughn was also occupied with tennis matches, work as a lifeguard at the Elks pool, basketball scrimmages and family vacationing this summer.
"It was a goal of mine to hang out with friends and family as much as possible before school starts," she said. "I am trying to savor this last summer."