Zoey Collum was no stranger to the Clanton Lions Club’s Peach Pageant when she signed up for the 2018 Miss event.

“I had always dreamed of being Miss Peach,” Collum said.

Yet, she thought Miss Peach may be a dream unrealized.

“I had never won peach queen, and I didn’t think I would,” Collum said.

Despite participating when she was younger, Collum had never won a peach queen title. She had been first runner up for Young Miss twice.

2018 was her first year competing for the Miss title. Hearing her name announced as the queen came as a surprise.

Collum had admired previous Miss Peach Queens and finds it surreal sometimes that she now holds the title.

She said the experience thus far has been “fun and exciting and crazy.”

Her favorite activity was delivering peaches to Gov. Kay Ivey and getting to talk to her. Collum said she also enjoyed getting to meet Cam Ward at another event.

Collum, along with the other Peach Queens, have also participated in Eli Go for Gold, and the Lion’s Club made a donation to the Eli Jackson Foundation and the Sesquicentennial parade.

Collum also spoke to the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce about the history of the Peach Pageant.

She is looking forward to the upcoming parades and the Peanut Festival.

Collum had wanted to be Miss Peach while she would still be in town rather than having to travel back from school for events.

She has been accepted to Auburn University, where she plans on being a pre-med major. Her career goal is to be a psychiatrist.

“I really enjoy helping others,” Collum said.

She had thought about being a doctor, but wanted to be able to talk to people and help them with their problem. These two come together in the field of psychiatry.

The $2,500 in scholarships Collum won during the Peach Pageant will help pay her tuition. In addition to $2,000 for being Miss Peach, Collum also received $500 for the 2018 Clanton Lions Club Outstanding Achievement Scholarship based on her GPA.

The variety of scholarships available through the pageant was a major reason Collum wanted to compete at the Miss level. During her reign, Collum hopes to continue the scholarship started by the 2017 peach queens. Funds were raised through a fashion show prior to the Peach Festival.

During the pageant, Collum was nervous about the on-stage question.

However, she said Miss Peach really does need to be able to answer questions about the county, so it makes sense.

Her question was “If you were chosen as Miss Peach Queen, what would you do to promote the pageant and encourage participation from other girls in this county?”

Her answer was “If given the opportunity to be Miss Peach, I would promote and encourage participation through additional scholarship opportunities; academic excellence is a great incentive. I would also love to promote the reason why we have the Lion’s Club is for service. As Miss Peach, I would be a representative of the Lions Club through my service.”

As a part of the pageant, Collum received a packet of information about the peach industry and the county.

“I’m glad I got that even if I didn’t win,” Collum said, commenting that she learned a lot about the county from the information.

For the younger peach queens, Collum wants to encourage them to “stay close to God, be positive and remember people are watching them, too.”

She said staying close to God is what has helped her stay calm while balancing being Miss Peach and her senior year.