Sweet Potato Queen Graces Jonesboro

February 14, 2004 -- Posted at 4:12 p.m. CST

JONESBORO--In a flurry of boa feathers, jewel encrusted tiaras, and some truly fabulous hats and eye wear....the Sweet Potato Queen graced Jonesboro with her presence Saturday.

The New York Times best selling author, Jill Conner Browne, wasn't here for a fashion show or to even show off her beauty queen wave, she was here to share message that could save women's lives.

"The number one killer in women is heart disease and what we need to do is prevent it before it happens," said Barry Tedder of Cardiology Associates of Northeast Arkansas.

Jack McKee works as the Physician Advisor Women's Health Advantage and agrees.

"One of our problems is that we have not done enough to educate women in our community and nationally about the true, true dangers of cardiovascular disease," said McKee.

But who said learning has to be boring? Add the Sweet Potato Queen and you might find yourself at the ASU Convocation Center.

More than 600 women came out today to celebrate Valentines day with Browne and all were dressed to impress. The building was filled with feather boas, big hats and some funky eye-wear.

"We came to strut our womanhood and we just really wanted to dress up like we always wanted to when we were little girls and just come out and have a great time, yea, we're queens for today," laughed Sophie Holland.

"We all need to have a little uplifting and fun and be just a little silly sometimes," said Myra Deacon who was sporting a purple tiara.

But it wasn't all just feather boas and fancy hats, the "Sweep Potato Queen," spoke to the crowd about better awareness of heart disease among women.

Cardiovascular Associates Administrator Connie Hill said the Sweep Potato Queen was a good way to tie in women's health awareness.

"We all dressed up as wannabe Sweet Potato Queens also to just bring attention to the fact that heart disease is the number one killer among women."

And while the men were certainly out numbered today, that didn't stop them from looking their best. There were several donned out in their best feather boas as well, and a few had on their Sweet Potato King sweatshirts.

"I think I just fit in a little better today," laughed McKee.

Proceeds from today's event will go to the Women's Heart Advantage program at St. Bernards. The program works to provide screenings and education about heart disease in women.