2018 Strawberry Festival Royalty

Louisiana Strawberry Queen XLVII
Gina Recotta

Gina is the 20 year-old daughter of Gary Recotta of Ponchatoula. Gina is a student at Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in marketing. Her hobbies include reading, spending time with family and friends, doing hair and makeup, and volunteering (for the American Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Fast Food Farm, and Emerge Center and St. Lillian’s Academy). Gina has received many honors including being a part of the Sigma Chapter of Delta Zeta at Louisiana State University. While being a member of the sorority, she was given the opportunity to be the assistant director of the Miss LSU-USA pageant. She also had the honor to speak in the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation’s Talk Meet in both 2014 and 2015.

Gina aspires to attend graduate school to obtain her doctorate degree in marketing. She dreams of traveling the world, so after finishing school, she would love to be hired by an international company so that she can combine both her dream to see the world while pursuing her degree.

When asked why she wanted to be Louisiana Strawberry Queen, Gina stated:

“I want to be the Louisiana Strawberry Queen because this title represents not only a festival – it represents an industry, an economy, and a way of life. After visiting many strawberry farms, I’ve learned firsthand how strawberries are harvested and I’ve met farmers who make a way of life because of this industry. It is up to the advocates, such as the Queen, to constantly promote the Louisiana natives to support its statewide farmers and to buy local. Education is the key to keep this industry alive and thriving. I am excited to be the Louisiana Strawberry Queen for the opportunity to be able to educate the people of Louisiana on the importance supporting both this industry and its farmers.”

Gina thinks the most unique aspect about the Strawberry Festival is that we’re one of the only festivals to have strictly nonprofit booths on the festival grounds. By doing this, we demonstrate to our youth the importance of volunteering for your community.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival King
Lennie Threeton

Your 2018 Ponchatoula Strawberry King, Mr. Lennie Threeton, is from Springfield, Louisiana and has a life-long background in the farming industry. His Great Grandfather Alonzo Threeton planted the family farm’s very first strawberry plant in 1926.

Growing up on the farm and upon graduating Springfield High School in 1990, King Lennie followed and eventually took over the farm from his Grandfather Willie "Bill" Threeton and his father Alfred Leonard "Nubby" Threeton. His family history with the Strawberry Festival has grown over several decades as his father "Nubby" served as King in 1981. Nubby and his late wife, Gladys Ruth “Ruthie” Smith Threeton, presented many award-winning strawberries at the Annual Festival Auction over the years. Lennie and his uncle, Lloyd Threeton, progressively plant 100,000 strawberry plants each year. Threeton Farms also raises cattle, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash, zucchini and eggplants. He bales roughly 7000 square bales and 600 round bales of hay each year. His family are strong advocates of the Strawberry Industry. There is nothing that compares to a good, sweet, Louisiana Strawberry. Lennie is one of only a few young full-time farmers dedicated to progressing the industry and his farm.

King Lennie has been married to Chris Elkins Threeton for 22 years and raised four daughters, Justine 20, LeAnn 16, Kacey 13 and the late Megan Threeton who deceased in September 2016. In their spare time, Lennie and his wife are very active with their daughters spending many weekends at the Livestock Shows with Swine for 4-H and FFA. They attend many basketball, football, and volleyball games to watch the girls cheer and play. Family time is also spent with the girls who are actively involved in all aspects of the farm.

Continuing the long family tradition and work ethic for Threeton Farms is something of great value to King Lennie. Being a full-time farmer is hard work and mother nature can rule your days and your crop. Lennie has always relied on faith and hard work. He is a firm believer that Faith is all about Believing – you don't know how it will all happen, but you know it will. That is what farming and a good crop is all about.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Grand Marshal
Carla Tate

Your 47th Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Grand Marshall is Ms. Carla Tate. She is the daughter of Carl Jr. “Chicken” and Barbara Gaines of Roseland, LA, and the Mother of Nicholas Tate. A lifelong resident of Tangipahoa Parish, she graduated from Amite High School, attended Southeastern Louisiana University and is a Louisiana Notary Public.

Carla’s career began at the age of 17 at Tangipahoa Parish Government. Over the years, she served in the capacity of receptionist, assistant purchasing agent, accounts payable, former Parish President Gordon Burgess’ Assistant, and finally Council Clerk. During her tenure, Carla thoroughly enjoyed her involvement with homeland security which continues to be one of her biggest passions.

In 2014, Carla was named the Executive Director for the Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her responsibilities include working with tourism industry partners in promoting all of Tangipahoa Parish domestic and international. She serves as the General Manager for the Southeast Louisiana Gumbo Group and for the Leadership Tangipahoa Association.

Carla is an advocate for community service and some of her memberships include the following groups: Arcola Baptist Church, Lifetime Junior Auxiliary, North Tangi Relay for Life, Celebrating Life in South Louisiana – Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Fundraiser Committee, Lions Athletic Association and SLU Alumni Association. She is also an active member of all the Parish’s Chambers of Commerce.

Her favorite past-times include beach time with Mom and Dad, Sister-time with Bridget, traveling, attending Tangipahoa Parish fairs, festivals, and events, SLU football games, cheering her favorite OFA Jacket #44 Karson, helping Kelsey pick the perfect pageant dress and making sure her crown is always straight, shopping with Taylor for that perfect gift, long talks with Kaitlyn, “trying” to learn card games from Koty and being Nick’s biggest supporter in all of his many adventures and doing what any mom would to do ensure all of his dreams come true.

Carla is honored and humbled to serve as the 47th Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Grand Marshall. She is looking forward to a fun-filled and productive year with the Strawberry Festival Board and Royalty.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Chairman
Dawn Beloso

Welcome to the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival website. I am Dawn Beloso, the 2018 Strawberry Festival Chairman.

After the winds of Hurricane Katrina brought me to the Ponchatoula area in 2005, I traveled the state with my cousin, LA Strawberry Queen XXVI Bridget Arceneaux, and fell in love with all things Strawberry! I have served as a member of the Strawberry Festival Board since 2010 and am honored to be affiliated with one of the largest free festivals in the state, second only to Mardi Gras. When I’m not enjoying Strawberry Festival activities, my hobbies include scrapbooking, reading, and spending time with all nine of my godchildren, my family, and friends.

The Festival Board and I are very eager to see each of you at the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival on April 13-15, 2018! We hope you have a “berry” good time!