By Tanya Brose
My experience at the 1997 Minneapolis Aquatennial will be cherished forever. We traveled to so many places, met so many people and made so many friends.
This is how my week went:
Check-in: I checked in at 8:30 a.m. at the Radisson Hotel Metrodome. There we were given our candidate name tags and new articles of clothing. We said goodbye to our parents, knowing we would barely see them for 10 days.
Pre-parade breakfast: We all met and greeted the current royalty, senior and junior royalty, commodores and vice-commodores, and the captain. The parade was delayed a half hour because of the rain, so we sat and visited, getting to know each other.
Grand day parade: Rainy, windy, and cold, but everyone of the candidates was wearing a smile, looking forward to the rest of the week. Princesses Lisa Gabbert and Kristy Mahlstedt joined me at the parade which was our last one together.
Get acquainted dinner: We ate at Bravo's. Each candidate introduced their roommates and told something about them. My roommate for the next 10 days was Beth Reimer, Miss Long Prairie.
The royalty, commodores, and special people involved with the Aquatennial attended this event. The Midwest Queens, who are not candidates, but participate in the events, were also there.
Milk carton boat races: They were delayed a half hour because it rained, but then the sun came out and warmed up. Many youth groups participated in this. One class of boats was strictly boats with over 1,000 milk cartons. Tom Thumb co-sponsored it and we received free food.
Commander's party: This was held at Dennis and Susan Anderson's, the owner of Anderson Windows. We spent most the afternoon in their pool. We later had a barbecue and introduced ourselves.
Water-ski show: Later that night the water-ski show was held on the Mississippi River. They put on a very good performance. We were introduced as a group and were given much appreciation by the audience. When it was over, we rode the Ferris wheel as a wind-down from the fun-filled day.
Judging session #1: This involved a four-minute interview with each judge. They were very easy to talk to, and I didn't think it was as bad as what it seemed.
Minnehaha Falls:We had coronation rehearsal and hot dogs in the park. It was my first visit to the beautiful falls.
Veteran's home: We split up into two groups and I went in to a building that only housed the veteran's with Alzheimer's disease. It was an uncomfortable situation and hard to be strong, but I believe that the veteran's were stronger than I was. Many girls left with tears shed. The veteran's loved us for coming and visiting and singing to them.
Planet Hollywood: For dinner we went to the Mall of America and ate at Planet Hollywood. This was my first time there, and I love the movies so I really enjoyed the restaurant. It was fun walking through the mall with 47 girls and people watching in amazement.
Cheapskate: In Hopkins, we went to Cheapskate, the roller rink. Some girls were very good at skating. Others were not so good, and they fell. No one was hurt, and we all went to bed with smiles of the fun evening.
Success panel: Three women came to speak about themselves, including their goals and great accomplishments. It was very motivating and made me feel good about myself and proud to represent the town I love at the Aquatennial.
Past queen's lunch: Past Queens from the 1940s to the 1990s put on a luncheon at the Edina Country Club. It was a heartwarming event. Present queen, Christine Scherping, was inducted into the Past Queen's Association.
Judging #2: We stayed at the club for the judging. The judges were in a separate room, and one by one we were to go in, read a question, and answer it. It took a total of about 30 seconds per candidate. It was very simple, nothing too hard, and I wasn't worried because I had tried my best.
McDonald's: Finally, we went to McDonald's to get some real food. The past couple days all we ate was healthy food (i.e. salads !#(~%?* !). Here we got to order what we wanted.
Twin's game: This was one of my favorite events throughout the week. I finally reached a goal in my life: to be on the big screen at the Twin's game. We sang the National Anthem with the present royalty and then sat up with our parents and friends for part of the game. Too bad the Twin's lost that evening.
Q & P visit: After we settled back at the hotel, the queen and princesses came up to our floor and visited with us. We learned a lot about them and what the Aquatennial was about.
Judging #3: Up and early the next day at 7:30 a.m., we wore our white formal gowns to the third judging. Again we were asked one question and answered it to the best of our ability. It felt good when it was over because there was only one small part of judging left on Friday.
Cruise and lunch: On Lake Minnetonka, we cruised on Al and Alma's. It was a very relaxing afternoon, and many girls rested. I enjoyed the scenery and warm breeze.
Torchlight dinner: This was held at Ruth Chris's Steakhouse, home of the best steaks in my opinion. Visiting dignitaries from Japan, Australia, Jamaica, Georgia, San Antonio, and North and South Dakota were there. Everyone was very friendly and we all enjoyed there company.
Torchlight parade: This was a very emotional night for all of us, being that it was our last parade and this week was half over. A half million people attended the parade. In the "Howard Lake group," mom and dad counted over 20 friends and family cheering me on. They held neon green and orange signs saying "Good Luck Tanya," and "We're proud of you." I appreciate all who came. It was very uplifting knowing that my town was behind me 100 percent.
It was nice to sleep in and then put on our "Meet the Candidates" outfit. At City Center, we ate at TGI-Friday's, which really filled us up. Everyone talked about their outfit, even though we would all be hearing about it in an hour.
"Meet the Candidates:" Located at City Center, we each described our outfit which was to depict something of our personality of our town.
We were judged, and this is what I said: "Good Afternoon. My name is Tanya Brose, and I am representing the city of Howard Lake. Baseball is not only America's favorite pastime, it is mine as well, therefore I am proudly wearing my hometown team's uniform who is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Because of delays in construction back in 1947, and they couldn't play on their home field, the team name chosen was the Orphans. Thank you."
It was very fun to do this because the judges and my fellow candidates learned about who I really was a true baseball fan. I felt very proud of what I chose to wear, the Orphans uniform.
WCCO dinner: We ate on the rooftop of the WCCO building in Rebecca Kolls' garden. The judges were there, which, of course, made us all nervous, but it was fun learning about them. I met and got my picture taken with Rebecca Kolls and Mark Rosen, and we were on the 5 p.m. weather.
Coronation rehearsal: We started the day with rehearsal at the Ted Mann Concert Hall. We finally got first look at the very spacious and elegant place where three of us would be crowned.
Community lunch: The community lunch was held at the hotel in a large ballroom. From Howard Lake, were: Gerry and Carol Smith, Miss Howard Lake,Julie Ringold and her mom, Marilyn Ringold, LeAnn Horsch, Nancy Main, Joan Johnson and Kathy Reimer of the queen's committee, my grandma, Helen Brose; Mary Kritzeck and my mom were all there to support me. It felt so good to have so many familiar faces around you to pat you on the back and say, "You are doing such a good job." I appreciate all for coming.
We were taken to a room where we were to answer another question and answer it on stage. After that, the judging was completely over.
Good-bye dinner: The candidates, chaperones, present royalty, and commodores and captain ate downtown for the Good-bye dinner. That's when I got to know the new '98 Queen of the Lakes, Carrie Nevitt. We sang and told stories. We laughed and we cried. It was my most favorite time at Aquatennial.
Dancin' on the deck: Since it rained, they moved the dance to the Calhoun Beach Club. The band was spectacular, and everyone danced and had a wonderful time. It was open to the public, and my mom and Mary Kritzeck came. It was great seeing all the nautical attire. By the end of the dance, everyone was ready for bed.
The big day: We had coronation rehearsal late in the morning. Charlie Boone, co-emcee, along with Roger Erickson, were with us making sure Charlie had all the correct pronunciations.
We had Subway for lunch in the hospitality suite in the hotel and relaxed and prepared for coronation.
Coronation: This was it, the biggest night of my life besides June 23, 1996, night at the Howard Lake coronation. I had so much fun this past year representing my hometown of Howard Lake to many neighboring communities, and now to represent it at the Minneapolis Aquatennial was a great honor for me.
They always told me you couldn't see anyone from the stage. I found that untrue because I could see my grandma, on the second level, way in the back, waving out her heart's desire. It brought a huge smile to my face, which lasted way after coronation.
I am very proud of the girls that received the crowns and titles, Carrie Nevitt, queen, and Brooke Theisen and Katherine Hendrickson, princesses. I am also proud of Miss Congeniality Heather Fritz, Miss Montevideo. They did such a great job and they really deserved it.
Afterwards we had a reception outside and we got to see our friends and family. The week was coming to an end, the memories piling up, and tears of joy forming in our eyes. I had a wonderful time doing this, and I am so glad I was given the opportunity for a chance in a lifetime deal.
Mom picked me up at 8:30 a.m. The car was packed full, I had said my good-byes to new and old friends and my wonderful chaperones, and we were well on our way home, when I said, "Right now, I have never felt more happier and more proud to say that I am the 1996-1997 Miss Howard Lake and 1997 Minneapolis Aquatennial Candidate."
I appreciate all the people who made this year possible for me. I have cherished every moment of it. I appreciate all who came to see me at Minneapolis and gave me support. You are all very important in my life. I appreciate the wonderful community of Howard Lake. I love my town and I will always represent it proudly.