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.
The Beaver Lodge 1504 organized a formal pageant in April 2005 to celebrate 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. Now, the Beaver Queen Pageant serves as a fundraiser for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA).
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS?
The 2023 Beaver Queen Pageant is Saturday, June 3rd from 4-7 PM in Duke Park Meadow across from the dog park. We'll start at 4 PM with Pre-pageant Activities (think fairy tails, etc, PARADE (4:45pm), and more!) The pageant will begin at 5 PM. There will be activities for the kits, food trucks, a lemonade stand, and a Locopops cart.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
The pageant is located in the meadow of Duke Park near the intersection of Englewood Ave and Acadia Street. Please consider walking, biking, bussing, or carpooling to the pageant this year! We are excited to be partnering with Bike Durham to provide Valet Bicylce Parking (Its like a coat check for bicycles).
GoDurham Route 4 will can drop you off at the back of Duke Park (instersection of Roxborro and Knox). There is limited parking available at Duke Park along Acadia Street. Parking is also available along the neighborhood streets, we ask that you please be respectful to our Duke Park neighbors!
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE?
1. Vote early and often for your favorite contestants ($5/vote).
2. Help spread the word about this year's pageant and your favorite contestants through social media, email, word of mouth, and tag the Beaver Queen Pageant on Instagram. Make sure to follow ECWA on Facebook and Instagram, and the Beaver Lodge Local 1504 on Facebook.
3. Show up on Saturday, June 3rd at the Duke Park Meadow. Walk, ride your bike, or carpool if you can! Wear a costume (with a tail!) if you want! Bring cash or a credit card to buy merch (shirts, totes, pins, car magnets, and more!) and votes ($5/vote).
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.
HOW IS IT A FUNDRAISER?
Our fabulous business sponsors make generous contributions. Please support them leading up to pageant!
You can make a financial contribution to support ECWA by voting for your favorite beaver character. 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 the day of the event!
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE BEAVER QUEEN PAGEANT?
This year is the Beaver Queen Pageant’s 19th 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 Local 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 $25,000 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.