Crustacean queen to appear tonight on Letterman

September 18, 1995|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

When Sara Cross accepted the crown and scepter to begin her reign as Miss Crustacean 1995 at Labor Day's Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, she never dreamed it would put her on national television.

But it has. Tonight she and seven other small-town pageant winners will appear on "Late Night With David Letterman."

"I can't stop smiling," Miss Cross, 17, said yesterday afternoon as she and her mother, Janet Cross, waited at Baltimore-Washington International Airport to board a USAir flight to New York. Both had just flown from Salisbury -- a first flight for both.

"I wasn't scared about anything else but flying," Miss Cross said after her flight from Salisbury. "But I got there, and I was just full of smiles," she said.

"Friday I was a wreck. Yesterday I was a wreck . . . . But Sara, she's as calm as a cucumber!" Mrs. Cross said. "I'm going to need bypass surgery when we get home!"

She said neither of them had ever been to New York.

A Letterman production assistant called Wednesday to see if Miss Cross could appear on the show tonight, Mrs. Cross said.

"I got home from school, and I thought it was a joke," said Miss Cross, a senior at Crisfield High School. "Because it's such a small town, no one expected this! But it wasn't a joke, it was for real."

The appearance was confirmed with an appropriately late-night call Friday, said Mrs. Cross, and she and her daughter picked up their tickets at BWI yesterday and flew to New York. The Letterman show paid for the New York flight and their accommodations. The flight to BWI was paid for by the Crisfield Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the Hard Crab Derby, a chamber official said.

Miss Cross, who described herself as shy, said she only entered the pageant after her best friend won last year.

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