1971 Dairy Festival Queen Beth Ashcroft Holland in her offical portrait
Beth Ashcroft Holland (right) and her son Bobby and his wife Lorraine.

The Golden Jubilee: 1971 Dairy Festival Queen Beth Ashcroft Holland revels in her three children and their accomplishments

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

Sept. 28, 2008 - Ask Beth Ashcroft Holland to define her "crowning achievement" and she will tell you that her children and their success are a great source of pride.

"I am most proud of my three children's accomplishments and getting them raised to be wage-earning adults, with a wonderful sense of humor and good moral character," she said.

She and Robert Holland, her husband of 32 years, are the parents of Katy, 29, who lives in Los Angeles; Bobby, 28, and his wife Lorraine who live in Dallas; and Anne, 24, who also lives in Dallas.

After high school, Holland attended Southern Methodist University, where she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, a Mustang cheerleader, a founding member of the SMU Student Foundation, and was chosen a Rotunda beauty.

Holland said that she enjoyed the Dairy Festival, although she had some reservations about the talent portion of the competition. She played a medley of Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

"I was very nervous about playing the piano in front of such a large audience," Holland said. "However, by preparing my talent portion for the pageant helped me overcome my fear that would help me with other skills later in life. I was the Dairy Festival Queen, and that makes me Texas royalty."

Her preparation and good attitude paid off. Holland won the talent phase of the competition.

Her favorite memory of the pageant involved being a duchess to the Gilmer Yamboree.

"I received a box containing my costume," Holland explained. "The package had only a wired black net with colored sequins in the shape of human-sized butterfly wings. This sent my mother a'flutter because we had to create a costume from scratch because no pictures or descriptions were provided. The easiest thing for me to do was to wear a black body suit under those butterfly wings, but that was the last thing I was going to wear. My mom and I created a costume that I remember thinking looked like a crushed moth! Costume designing was not our best ability."

Holland, the daughter of B.F. and Denney (deceased) Ashcroft, and her husband have been of 32 years, Robert, have recently moved to Dallas and Washington, D.C., where he served as the United States Executive Director of the World Bank. While living in Washington, Beth was a K-12 teaching docent at the National Gallery of Art.

"I also worked in the Gifts Department of the White House," Holland said. "I helped with the cataloguing and researching gifts given to President and Mrs. Bush."

Given her interest in art, Holland is currently a school docent at the Dallas Museum of Art, serves as an art consultant and plans art-related tours for groups.

Beth has also worked as an actress in regional TV ads, infomercials and has even had parts in Walker, Texas Ranger.

Holland encourages young women to compete in the Dairy Festival pageant "if they have the time and patience to prepare their talent phase. The contestants should have a good attitude, too. The competition is a great place to learn many life skills, meet interesting people and, most importantly, have fun!"

Patsy Stewart of Cumby High School was first runner-up and won the beauty part of the pageant.

Float winners were: First - "Milk is the Treasure of Our Island" - Junior Waverly Club; Second - "The Land of Milk and Honey" - Mothers' Culture Club; Third - "Dairy Capital" - Alpha Alpha Kappa Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.

Entertainment for the pageant was provided by Rhonda Reed, Greg Atkins and Judy Borden of East Texas State University. Borden was Miss Sulphur Springs 1970 and was the reigning Miss East Texas State University.

Miss Ashcroft received the award for ticket sales, with Tonya Nordin coming in second and Billye Beth Berry coming in third.

"Ticket sales, a factor in the queen selection in past years, were not considered in the determination by a panel of visiting judges for the 1971 pageant."

Information taken from a copy of Friday, May 14, 1971, edition of The Daily News-Telegram

(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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