What is the Beaver Queen Pageant?
The Beaver Queen Pageant is Durham’s own special mix of folly, pageantry, and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities: Fur Pelton John, the Beave Whisperer, and Furrabella-Conchita Carramba. As with every Beauty Queen Pageant, the contestants introduce themselves in their wetlands ready wear, showcase their unique talent, and participate in an interview in their finest evening wear. Beav Aldrin, the 2014 Queen, performed an aerial routine on silks. Furrah Gnawsett-Major, the 2012 Queen, played the Star Wars theme on the clarinet while hula hooping.
Check out what the News and Observer had to say about the Beaver Queen Pageant in their article: 5 tips on attending Durham’s annual Beaver Queen Pageant.
What is the schedule of events?
In light of COVID-19, the 2021 Beaver Queen Pageant will be virtual! Stay tuned for exact dates, expect to be introduced to contestants in mid/late April with a couple of episodes in late May and early June, 2021.
How do I Participate?
1. Wait for online voting to open up sometime in mid/late April - we will let you know when it is time!
2. Vote early and often for your favorite contestants ($5/vote).
3. Watch the episodes
4. Be a social ambassador. Help spread the word about this year's virtual pageant and your favorite contestants through social media, email, etc. Check out the event Facebook Page. The ECWA Facebook Page. The Beaver Lodge Local 1504 Facebook Page. The ECWA Instagram Page. and The Beaver Queen Instagram Page.
5. Buy a gift certificate to your favorite local business and send it to ECWA, PO Box 2679, Durham NC 27715. Click here for a list of black-owned businesses in Durham that you could support in this way. We will use these as contestant prizes to thank all of our amazing volunteer contestants!
Is the Beaver Queen Pageant really family-friendly?
Yes, the pageant is a hit with kids of all ages due to the outrageous costumes and fun performances. While there will be plenty of puns and double entendre about the multiple meanings of “beaver”, it is usually far too subtle for most young fans. This year beavers of all ages and their families are encouraged to submit contestant videos!
So how is it a fundraiser?
Secondly, you can make a financial contribution to support ECWA and your favorite beaver character: Vote early and often for your favorite contestant. Though the judges, also known as the Board of Corruption, keep their selection methods secret, votes do matter when the judges select the Queen. Every vote costs $5. You can vote online anytime between now and June 13th from your computer, ipad, or phone.
What is the history of the Beaver Queen Pageant?
This year is the Beaver Queen Pageant’s 17th year. The event is uniquely Durham: a mash-up of community, creativity, playfulness, and advocacy for a cause.
The first event was held in April of 2005 in celebration of a successful community effort by the Duke Park neighborhood to stop the NC Department of Transportation from eradicating a den of beavers that had taken up residence in wetlands north of I-85. Beverly Woody was crowned the first Beaver Queen following an amazing clog dancing routine.
The following year 6 people wanted to compete for the crown of Beaver Queen and The Beaver Lodge 1504 organized a formal pageant for the multitudes. Celebrity judges and bribes became the norm. Since the beginning well over 50 people of many genders, races, and orientations have competed for the coveted Beaver Queen crown and a uniquely Durham tradition has grown. The Pageant typically raises about $15,000 for ECWA.
We’ve even had our first interspecies Queen: Miz Polly Nator was crowned the 2015 Beaver Queen and helped make Durham a Bee City. This national designation raises awareness about the many contributions of bees and other pollinators to the environment and food system.
You can watch previous year's Beaver Queen Pageants on the Beaver Lodge Youtube Channel.