1968 Dairy Festival Queen Morna Harry's official portrait.
A story about the Dairy Festival put Morna Moss Harry on the cover of the Dallas Times Herald magazine.
Morna Harry Moss recently retired after a career in teaching. She operates an online business, which allows her to spend time with her four grandchildren, Brycen, Sealy, McKoy and Kambry.The Golden Jubilee

The Golden Jubilee: 1968 Dairy Fest Queen Morna Harry Moss was also a 'cover girl'

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

Sept. 14, 2008 - Morna Harry Moss, the 1968 Dairy Festival Queen, is a quick study. A couple of days before the pageant, her father, Billy Harry, asked her an important question.

"He said, 'What if someone asks you how to milk a cow, what are you going to say?,'" she remembered. "I hurriedly asked one of my dairy friends, Junior Hinton, to show me how."

According to Moss, she went to Hinton's dairy barn, where he showed her some cows attached to automatic milkers.

"I laughed and said I needed to know how to hand-milk a cow myself," Moss said. "I sat down on a wooden stool, Junior handed me the cat's milk bowl and said, 'See if you can hit this.' I did."

Moss said the Hopkins County Dairy Festival Board also proved quick on the draw when the weather took a turn for the worst right before the pageant.

"A downpour occurred on Wednesday and it rained off and on through Friday morning," she explained. "The rain worked with us for the Thursday parade, but came back Thursday night."

Moss said that the coronation was supposed to be held in the rodeo arena, but since it was covered with "mud and other things," they decided to move the event to the junior high school gym on Connally Street.

"The festival board and some students constructed the set in a few hours and it looked great!," Moss said. "Transforming the gym into the 'Arabian Nights' theme took nonstop work."

For the talent part of the competition, Moss did a dramatic interpretation from the play "Our Town."

"In the scene, a young girl comes back from heaven and comes to realize that her life on earth contained beauty, goodness and happiness," Moss remembers. "My costume was a nightgown and I worried about the spotlights shining through, so I wore a pair of long johns under it."

Just a little over a month after she was crowned on May 9, 1968, Moss received a pleasant surprise.

"My daddy brought home The Dallas Times Herald's Sunday magazine," Moss said. "My picture was on the front cover and there was an article on the dairy industry and festival inside. I was shocked. I still don't know who was responsible for it."

As queen, Moss represented Hopkins County at the Dogwood Festival in Quitman, the peach pageant in Pittsburg, Autumn Trails in Winnsboro and the Yamboree in Gilmer, providing her the opportunity to meet new friends.

"The Yamboree queen Mary Jo Proctor and I later roomed together at Stephen F. Austin," Moss said.

Moss' parents are Billy and Billie Harry. Her father was in the Brangus cattle business for years. Her mother owns Lee's Hallmark, and, according to Moss, "she can work circles around me." Her grandparents are the late Lee and Ellen Walker and Roy and Josie Harry.

After high school, Moss attended SFASU and East Texas State University. She married Steve Moss in 1970, graduated for ETSU and began working for the Texas Department of Human Resources.

The couple has two children, daughter Kelsey and husband Greg Strawn and their two children, son Brycen and daughter Sealy; and daughter Kamilla and husband Ty Musser, and their two daughters, McKoy and Kambry.

"I later returned to school and received my teaching certificate," she said. "I taught in North Hopkins, Campbell, Tyler and Lindale."

Moss recently retired and now spends time with her four grandchildren and has an online business. Steve is a homebuilder in Lindale and Tyler.

"God continues to bless my family and me," she said.

Moss said she is looking forward to next summer when the Hopkins County Dairy Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and advises young women to compete in the pageant and study up on the rich history of the dairy industry.

"I would say go for it and represent Hopkins County with hono," Moss said. "In the 1960s, dairy milk sales totaled about $16 million a year. The average dairy farming family milked between 70 and 500 head. The dairy industry attracted other business to Hopkins County. In fact, Hollywood Brands candy built a plant here because of the milk supply and a willing labor force. So I would also advise the candidates to know their history, too."

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The theme of the 1968 Hopkins County Dairy Festival was "Arabian Nights"

Introductions -- Carl Brice

Emcee -- Clarke Keys

Soloist -- David Stinson

Organist -- Mrs. Elna Andrus

Harem Girls -- Kimberle Baxter and Julie Hagar

Court Assistants -- Jon Dale Cherry and Johnny Cross

Duchesses: Deborah Huie, Cooper; Beverly Shields, Quitman; Becky Morriss, Mineola; Jeanne Davis, Mount Vernon; Mary White, Winnsboro; Carin Threlkeld, Commerce; Martha Holman, Pittsburg; Cindy Bogue, McKinney; Pam Cole, Daingerfield; Anne McGrede, Longview; Mary Fisher, Cumby; Jackie Abshire, Paris

Floats:

Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves -- Noel Blackburne; Waverly Club, sponsor; Ronnie Holder, escort

Sinbad the Sailor -- Morna Harry; Junior Waverly Club, sponsor; Mike Colley, escort. (This float took second place in the parade, according to Morna Harry Moss, 1968 Dairy Festival Queen.)

Fisherman and the Bottle -- Susan Payne; Dial Study Club, sponsor; Dick Enloe, escort. (Payne was named first runner-up and her float took third place in the parade, according to Morna Harry Moss, 1968 Dairy Festival Queen.)

Alladin and Princess -- Sandra Skelton; Rotary Club, sponsor; Richard Watson

Lawrence of Arabia -- Lee Ann McGahee; Mother's Culture Club, sponsor; Charles Light, escort. (This float won first place, according to Morna Harry Moss, 1968 Dairy Festival Queen.)

Court Entertainment -- 1928 Hupmobile, ETSU

1968 Hopkins Dairy Festival Board

General Chairman -- Carl Brice

Vice-Chairman -- Gerald Howard

Pageant Coordinator -- Mrs. F.G. Rogers

Secretary -- Mrs. Bill Elliott

Treasurer -- Mrs. Mike Pribble

Committees

Decoration -- Mrs. Bill Elliott; Mrs. Billy Sam Elliott; Annada Elliott; Beta Sigma Phi

Stage Construction -- Billy Sam Elliott; James Jones

Tickets -- Mrs. Charles Gilreath; Mrs. Pete Long

Parade -- Gerald Howard

Float Arrangements -- Leo St. Clair

Queen's Arrangements -- Mrs. Joesph Longino; Mrs. Mike Pribble

Ground Equipment -- Frankie Eddins

Hostess for Duchesses -- Mrs. Bill Hager

Talent and Beauty Review -- Miss Sunell Rogers

Public Relations -- Lynn Massingill

Designs -- Jim Limbaugh

(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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