GRANITE FALLS - Before all the dressing up, riding in the parade and going before a panel of judges, the candidates vying for Miss Western Fest were treated to a good breakfast and a chance to meet with others who are already serving their communities.
On Saturday morning, the Western Fest queen committee had a queen's brunch for Western Fest candidates, their families, current Western Fest royalty and visiting town royalty at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.
Lisa Carter and Katy Lundell, co-chairwomen of the Western Fest queen committee, were overseeing the brunch.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Miss Western Fest queen candidate Rosina Halverson Studer introduces herself and her family during a queen’s brunch Saturday morning at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Granite Falls.
Halverson Studer was one of seven girls running for Miss Western Fest.
Carter said the queen's brunch is to honor the current royalty.
"It's their farewell essentially," Carter said.
Carter said that queens and princesses from other towns, such as Montevideo, Maynard, Starbuck and Clara City, are also invited to the brunch.
It takes a bit of work to get the brunch together, said Lundell, and about six to seven others on the committee help with getting the invitations out, making sure the catering is taken care of and the table decorations are set up. The theme of the pageant week was "Women Making History" with green and lavender as the colors, Lundell said.
Seven girls were running for Miss Western Fest - Roxana Trevino, Rosina Halverson Studer, Lindsey Bendix, Summer Hamilton, Claressa Thielen, Katelynn Sjurseth and Kendra Sander.
All of the Miss Western Fest candidates are paired up with "little sisters," younger girls in grades 4-6. Whoever is named Miss Western Fest, the "little sister" is named the junior princess. All of the little sisters and their families were at the brunch as well.
And the candidates and their families appreciate all that goes into the pre-pageant events, like the brunch.
"It gets them going in the morning," said Shannon Sander, Kendra Sander's mother. Kris Slettedahl, Kendra Sander's aunt, said the brunch was "pretty cool," something she's never seen before.
Trevino said the brunch is a fun tradition. All of the candidates also have a "special mom," whether it's an aunt, teacher or family friend, that helps them throughout the pageant.
"It takes a lot of hard work and I'm happy with everything," Trevino said.
The brunch was also a way to network before the parade, candidates and visiting royalty said.
"It's always a good way to meet the girls, the candidates," said Jaci Clauson, one of Montevideo's Fiesta Days' ambassadors.
"It's just really nice to see everyone and talk with everyone," Bendix said about the brunch. "It's a long week, but it's really fun."
Representing Maynard were Paige Bourne and Lisa Pauling. They also liked the connections that are made before getting on the parade route.
"It's nice," Bourne said of the brunch. "You get to chat."
"We interact with the girls and you get a feel for what they are like, either shy or outgoing," Pauling said.
For a long time, Western Fest has had a tradition with the Minneapolis Aquatennial. The Aquatennial captain Jennifer Brentano and princess Cayla Yund, were also in attendance at the brunch.
"It's a lot of fun, It's perfect," Brentano said. "It's a great way to connect with others before the parade."