Surprised but happy.
That’s how Nicole Jewell described the way she felt the moment she was named Fun in the Sun Queen 2000 on Saturday afternoon while standing beside the five other contestants outside La Place Rendez-Vous.
“I was really shocked when they named be Miss Congeniality but when they announced me as this year’s Queen—I never imagined,” enthused Jewell, who was sponsored by Canadian Tire.
But Jewell noted the best part about being a queen contestant was the path the contest took her, First Princess Shailynn McMahon, Second Princess Alexis Vandetti, Nicole Rogozinski, Amy Flatt, and Natalie Lundon on over the past two weeks.
“They were really fun—we all got along great,” said Jewell about her new friends. “Doing all those things, and especially getting to talk to so many people, was great.”
Having been to the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre, Mall Days, the La Verendrye Hospital Auxiliary “strawberry social,” and more, Jewell cited her favourite places.
“The Teddy Bear Picnic was great because of all the cute little kids but what I think I liked best was kayaking [courtesy of Rainy Lake Boatworks],” she noted.
Jewell added she fully supports the pageant, and encourages others to go in it next year. “It’s not only a lot of fun but you get to meets lots of people you normally wouldn’t get to,” she remarked.
While Jewell was voted most “congenial,” and was able to woo the judges with her personality, all six contestants were recognized for a particular quality sometime during this year’s pageant. Vandetti, for instance, took top spot during the entertainment night last Sunday with a ballet en pointe to Faith Hill’s “Breathe.”
Natalie Lundon received recognition for best attitude, and Nicole Rogozinski was applauded for having the best float in the Canada Day parade. Amy Flatt did the best during her interview with judges Diane Maxey, Ray Koprowski, and 1998 First Princess Adia Huss-Solomon.
With her crown, Jewell also received a $2,000 scholarship to be used towards post-secondary education, as well as various gifts like a necklace and earrings.
McMahon and Vandetti got $1,000 and $500 respectively, as well as some other prizes.
Pageant organizer Sue Danku said not only were this year’s contestants highly active in the week or so before the crowning but also were well received.
“We had quite a few people come out for the crowning so that was good,” she remarked. “Overall, I really enjoyed myself this year—I had a good group of girls who were easy to work with.”
As FITS royalty, Jewell, McMahon, and Vandetti will continue to make appearances and volunteer at community events. Keep an eye open for them to next appear at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship later this month.
In related news, for those who bought a FITS Queen button, the winning number is 968. The winner should contact Danku at 274-5341 to claim their prize.
Meanwhile, FITS Mini-Queen 2000 Hailey Clendenning, four, was not at the crowning ceremony but she did appear in the parade on a float with 1999 Mini-Queen Katelyn Shortreed, and 1999 Queen and First Princess Angela Barron and Katie Pierroz.
Clendenning was crowned at the queen’s entertainment night June 25 after winning the Mini-Queen pageant, sponsored by Wood’s Sewing Machines, the day before.
“It makes me happy,” said Clendenning, who noted her favourite part of being this year’s Mini-Queen was going in the parade.
Her mom, Lori, said it was only natural to see Hailey participate.
“We talked about [her participating], and didn’t really refer to it as being a contest—everyone is really a winner,” she stressed. “I know she loves to talk people so it was as easy as just telling her to go talk to Mrs. Wood onstage.”
Clendenning also is no stranger to performance as she currently takes ballet and other dance lessons.
Also recognized at Saturday’s crowning ceremony was 17-month-old Joleigh Hayes, who won this year’s Beta Sigma Phi (Phi Iota chapter) Beach Baby Contest.
Runner-up was Nasia Kavanaugh, followed by third-place winner Kailyn Singleton.
This year’s contest raised more than $1,100 for local children’s charities.