1967 Dairy Festival Queen Stephanie Longino Davidson, in a dress made by her mother, Joan.

The Golden Jubilee : The Longino Legacy: 1967 Queen and her family had long history with Hopkins County Dairy Festival

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

Sept. 7, 2008 - Stephanie Longino Davidson, 1967's Dairy Festival Queen, and her family were very dedicated to the Hopkins County Dairy Festival. The Longinos were an integral part of the Dairy Festival for more than 20 years.

"Joan was a great asset to the festival," said Lynda Hager, co-pageant director and a member of the board since the mid-1960s, referring to Stephanie's mother. "You name it, she did it, from ticket sales to opening her lovely home for teas and festival events."

Margaret Prim Irwin, who competed with Stephanie and was a friend from childhood, agrees.

"Her mother has been such a part of the Dairy Festival for so many years."

Irwin remembered Stephanie, who passed away on July 4, 2000, during a telephone interview.

This photo of Stephanie Longino Davidson is the one used in the annual Dairy Festival Pageant program. For the past 10 years, her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Joe Longino, have given a $500 scholarship to the talent winner in the pageant.

"She was always very gracious," said her childhood friend Margaret Prim Irwin. "We were friends from the time we were little girls."

Irwin and Davidson were contestants in the 1967 pageant, when she was a senior and Davidson was a junior.

Each year, Davidson's parents, Dr. and Mrs. Joe Longino, give a $500 scholarship in her honor to the contestant who scores highest in talent.

Mrs. Longino made the lovely blue lace sheath her daughter wore in 1968 when she gave up her title (see photo).

"I made all of her clothes," Mrs. Longino said. "We borrowed the dress she was crowned in, but I made the dress she wore the next year."

Irwin says although the other contestants were nervous the night of the pageant, "I remember Stephanie as being calm. She was a good influence on all of us."

In addition to the crown, Davidson won the award for most ticket sales. Prim won the talent award and was named second runner-up.

According to information from this year's Dairy Festival program, "Stephie" loved horseback riding, reading, cooking and sewing.

After high school, Davidson attended and graduated from Texas Tech University.

She enjoyed traveling through Europe and received permission to visit Russia.

After moving to Washington, D.C., she received her master's degree in art from George Washington University. She taught art at the elementary school level in Alexandria, Va.

She also loved gardening, needlework, swimming and entertaining.

Longino passed away after a long battle with breast cancer on July 4, 2000.

"She was just a fun person we shouldn't have lost," Irwin said. "The 4th of July will never be the same for me."

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Southern Melodies was the theme of the 1967 Dairy Festival

Peggy Harbor rode on a float called "Land of Milk and Honey."

Nancy Neumann rode of a float with the theme of "Robert E. Lee."

Carol Strickland's float was "Casey Jones." - The float won first place, according to a photo from the newspaper and was sponsored by the Dial Study Club.

Suanne Shockey rode on "Dixie."

Margaret Prim was on a float named "Beautiful Dreamer."

Stephanie Longino's float was "In the Evening by the Moonlight."

Linda Ramey was on a float named "Mighty Like a Rose."

Editor's Note: No program was available from the pageant.

(Editor's Note: In June 2009, the Hopkins County Dairy Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary. In the weeks leading up to the festival, the News-Telegram will visit with former Dairy Festival queens to reminisce about the festival, the pageant and what it meant to wear the crown.)

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