Two local women compete for Asparagus Queen crown.

May 25, 2021

Tara Oomen. left, and Grace Huffman.

Two local women compete for Asparagus Queen crown.

SHELBY — Two local women — Tara Oomen and Grace Huffman — are competing for the Asparagus Queen crown to represent Oceana County’s asparagus industry.

One woman will be crowned queen and the other first runner-up Saturday, June 5, at Shelby High School during the queen pageant which begins at 5 p.m.

“There is no food portion this year (during the pageant) due to the uncertainty of the event and COVID restrictions,” states a post on the National Asparagus Festival Facebook page.

2019 Asparagus Queen Alysha Sullivan and First Runner-Up Lori Beggs will be on hand for the event.

There was no 2020 asparagus queen due to COVID-19. The festival, which would have been the 47th annual event, was also cancelled. This year, the festival is scaled back to only two events — the queen pageant and the Ryan Walsworth Spear It 5K — due to COVID-19. There will be no parade or other events.

Check the NAF Facebook page or visit www.nationalasparagusfestival.org for further updates on this year’s queen pageant, such as how to purchase tickets.

Tara Oomen:

Tara Oomen

Tara was born and raised on her family’s fruit and vegetable farm In Hart, which grows around 225 acres of asparagus. Her passion for agriculture was instilled in her at an early age by her dad. She went to Michigan State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management and a minor in agronomy. She just got accepted to Purdue University and Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business for a joint master’s in agriculture economics and the MBA program. She currently works for BASF, a chemical company, as an agronomic solutions advisor covering West Michigan. Tara has always enjoyed working in the specialty fruit and vegetable market throughout her career. Tara is also the president of the Oceana County Farm Bureau. She enjoys hunting, especially archery, hiking, sports, snowmobiling, traveling and anything outdoors. Tara plans to always be heavily involved in the agriculture industry in her career, advocating for Michigan growers, and helping out on her family farm. She says being the daughter of an asparagus farmer has really helped her learn the critical aspects of the industry and has provided her with a unique perspective into the art of growing Michigan asparagus.

Tara is sponsored by Oomen Veggie Co. and supported by Farm Bureau.

Grace Huffman

Grace Huffman:

Grace Huffman has lived in New Era since she was 13. Before living in Wisconsin and South Dakota, she lived in Montague from a young age. Grace is currently an LPN continuing her education to become an RN in West Shore Community College’s ADN Program. She went to Shelby High School but graduated from ASM Tech Early College in 2020 where she earned her high school diploma as well as an associate’s degree. Grace plans to transfer to Ferris State University to obtain her bachelor of science in nursing and dreams of a role advocating for women in health care. Grace has accomplished a lot during her years in Oceana County. Some of Grace’s favorite involvements have been representing Shelby High School in softball and volleyball as well as at AAASA Girl’s State and LLC Rotary Camp in 2018. She has also participated in many food drives and pride days while living in Oceana County. Grace has worked at New Era Wesco since she was 16 but is saying goodbye to serve her county in a way that furthers her education.

Grace is sponsored by Wesco of New Era.

Photos courtesy of Judi Luptak

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