A woman who wears many hats across the county, Sylvia Smith has added one more to her collection — except this one is a crown.
Smith was crowned as this year’s Crape Myrtle Queen at the 17th annual Crape Myrtle Queen’s Tea on Thursday afternoon. She joined more than 80 others in stylish pink hats and garments, the color of Waxahachie’s famous crape myrtle blooms, in the Waxahachie Civic Center’s Crape Myrtle room. Declared in 1997, Waxahachie is the Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas.
“It’s hard because there are so many women who deserve it, but I think because she has had such a presence in Waxahachie for 20-30 years. It’s funny, I’ve been on so many committees and boards and Sylvia has. But I’ve never been on one with her, so that shows she’s serving and doing things kind of quietly,” said the 2014 queen Cindy Hess. “She’s real big with downtown merchants and the chamber of commerce, and veterans and children, things like that. It’s her work — and she’s the type that will show up without you asking her.”
To be a queen, the nominee must be active in the community and have a focus on helping and growing the community to be better, said Bonney Ramsey, in a previous article. Ramsey is the Crape Myrtle Festival chairwoman and 2004 queen. The queens before Smith make the crowning decision, the article stated.
“You can count on her to participate and be apart of everything. She’s a giver. She gives, and gives, and gives, and gives. It doesn’t matter what the cause is, you can call Sylvia. This is what we look for in a queen. We want somebody who is out there, making a difference for people in our community. I’ve worked with her many times, and she is just one of those delightful people and she’s always there. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. She’s apart of it. I just can’t imagine not having her involved in our community.”
Currently, Smith is the Ellis County Historical Commission chairwoman, the Ellis County Genealogical Society Vice President, the Ellis County Woman’s Building president, an Ellis County Museum board member, the Ellis County Child Welfare chairwoman, a Red Oak High School Alumni Board Member, a Daughters of the American Revolution board member, and an United Daughters of the Confederacy board member as well as the Lancaster Genealogical Society president.
Before she was announced, Hess read a poem in honor of Smith’s work.
“My year as queen has come to an end. I cannot begin to tell you what a pleasure it has been. But it is time to pass the crown to one so helpful and true. She is known for making Waxahachie a better place for me and you,” the poem read. “Wile involved with our community’s history, merchants and more, it is volunteers like her that are at Waxahachie’s core. We praise her willingness to always step in, and the joy she brings with each and every grin. So, let us all cheer and give hearty applause, as the Crape Myrtle Queens did agree to honor a local celebrity known as KBEC’s “Miss Ellie.”
Smith’s responsibilities will include riding at the front of the city’s Fourth of July parade, representing the city as an icon and just having fun for the next year, until she gets to crown the next queen, according to a previous article.
“This is just really fantastic,” Smith said, adding she was thoroughly surprised and expect someone else to be named as queen this year. “I hope I can do a good job for you like the queens that preceded me.”