MakitaThis year, the National Hamburger Festival welcomes a new chairman for the annual National Hamburger Festival Queen pageant. Makita Gulley, former Miss National Hamburger Festival, is thrilled to join the team along with her mother, who will serve as her assistant.

We sat down with Makita to talk about her experience as a queen, as well as her vision for this year’s pageants.

Q1: Tell us, what got you started in pageants?

“Actually the National Hamburger Festival was my first pageant.

It all started back in 2010 when I learned that Akron had a hamburger festival. I was going to school in Canton, so my friends and I drove to the festival on a whim.

Naturally, it was all about the burgers. I kept thinking, ‘This festival is the best thing ever!’

When we got to the festival, we arrived during the second half of the festival pageant. We watched as a group of girls crossed the stage. We all thought, ‘What the heck is this?’

So, we talked to the young lady who was crowned runner up. She told us about the pageant and I think my instant reaction was, “There’s a freakin’ pageant for this awesome festival?!!”

So the next year, I did it. I had been talking about ever since I saw the pageant the year before. I kept thinking, ‘They have pageant. I’m going to do that pageant.’

When that summer rolled around, I looked it up and got it all together.”

Q2: What was it like to win the 2011 National Hamburger Festival Queen title?

Makita+MOm“Shock does not even explain it, honestly. I went into it not expecting anything. I just wanted to have fun.

I thought, ‘Maybe I can swing runner-up! I’m pretty cute. I’ll be really excited if that happens.’

When they said my name as the winner, my mother was screaming. I’m pretty sure I went deaf for a minute!”

Q3: What’s your vision for this year’s pageant?

“I want everyone to have fun. I want it to be a laid-back, but fun environment. It’s supposed to be fun! After all, you’re at a hamburger festival in a formal dress stuffing your face with burgers. That’s a beautiful picture right there.”

Q4: What are you most looking forward to at the National Hamburger Fest?

“Besides the pageant, it’s all about the burgers. I have got to try everything. To be really honest, I fast all day in preparation of the festival. I prepare for this.

In terms of specific burgers, I am most looking forward to a full Menches Brothers burger. They’re so good.”

Q5: Are you from Akron?

I went to school at Kent State University and got my degree in hospitality management. Today, I live in Akron with my kids.


Interested in being a part of the National Hamburger Festival pageantry? Click here to sign up for the queen pageant.