Taylor Tyson, Miss South Florida Fair, was crowned Miss Florida on Saturday evening in Lakeland amid a bevy of sparkle and happy tears.
Miss Florida 2017 Sara Zeng of Palm Coast presented Tyson with her crown, sash and a bouquet of roses in the climax to the nearly three-hour pageant at RP Funding’s Youkey Theatre. With the Miss Florida crown comes a cash scholarship totaling $20,000 and a prize package worth more than $25,000. The scholarship amount increased by $5,000 after a benefactor donated that amount Saturday.
Tyson hails from Jupiter and is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University and a law student at Stetson University. For her talent during the pageant, the classical pianist performed “Mephisto Waltz.”
Tyson, 23, will represent the state in the 2019 Miss America competition on September 9 in Atlantic City, where young women from across the country will vie for $55,000 in cash scholarships.
Saturday’s event capped five days of competition in Lakeland, during which 40 young women competed in preliminary rounds including eveningwear, fitness and lifestyle, talent and interview categories.