The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association and Beaver Lodge Local 1504 are seeking contestants to participate in this year’s virtual Beaver Queen Pageant. The physical distancing required due to COVID-19 will prevent gathering in person in the Duke Park meadow for the 16th annual pageant, but it won’t stop Durham from celebrating their inner beavers and local wetlands.

What is the Beaver Queen Pageant?

The Beaver Queen Pageant is Durham’s own special mix of folly, pageantry, and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and introduce themselves in their wetlands ready wear, showcase their unique talent, and participate in an interview in their finest evening wear. This year’s pageant will have the same components, but since it will be online, any beaver can participate!

How to participate

They encourage creative beavers of all ages who are stuck in their Lodges to visit www.beaverqueen.org and click on the “become a contestant” tab to learn how they can submit a video to become a contestant in this year’s pageant. This year’s pageant will be rolled out in three episodes, a talent episode on June 6th, a Q&A episode on June 7th, and a final CORONAtion episode on June 13th. The pageant theme is “Beavers in the Stream”.

The Beaver Queen Pageant is uniquely Durham: a mash-up of community, creativity, playfulness, and advocacy for a cause. The first event was held in April of 2005 in celebration of a successful community effort by residents of the Duke Park neighborhood to stop the NC Department of Transportation from eradicating a den of beavers that had taken up residence in wetlands north of Interstate 85. Beverly Woody was crowned the first Beaver Queen following an amazing clog dancing routine.

All for a good cause

The event raises money for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA). Past pageants have raised a combined $157,000 for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association’s conservation activities in Durham. The lead business sponsors this year include Vaguely Reminiscent, Acme Plumbing, and G. Crabtree Spaces. Pathfinder Community School and Crossfit Durham are sponsoring at the judge level. Any member of the public can become a contestant or vote for their favorite contestants at www.beaverqueen.org.

The mission of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA) is to preserve, protect, and restore a healthy, living Ellerbe Creek watershed. Ellerbe Creek flows for more than 20 miles through Durham to Falls Lake, Raleigh’s water supply. Sadly, the creek is listed as one of North Carolina’s most polluted streams. The money raised through the Beaver Queen Pageant supports ECWA’s long-term goals for the watershed including creating an interconnected network of trails and nature preserves, restoring water quality and habitat in Ellerbe Creek, and creating green space for people in the community to enjoy. Since 1999, ECWA has protected over 450 acres of land along Ellerbe Creek and its tributary streams, restoring these forgotten and neglected areas into community assets as five public nature preserves.

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