Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Feb. 11, 2002

West Wind Princess Elin Schoenfelder finishes her reign

By Julie Yurek

Being Princess of the West Wind was quite a task. Just ask former Miss Winsted Elin Schoenfelder.

Schoenfelder, 22, reflected on the highlights of her year-long reign as Princess of the West Wind at the Winter Carnival in St. Paul. Her reign was over at the end of January.

Schoenfelder remembers feasting and dancing with the other princesses and royalty for 10 days at a place called Old St. Paul.

She remembers waving to smiling, rosy-nosed children. The princess and the royal family also visited with people who could not attend the winter celebration.

The legend of the St. Paul Winter Carnival is intriguing if one does not know it.

In Winter Carnival mythology, King Boreas, King of Wind, came upon Minnesota one day when he was traveling. He was enchanted by the landscape of the hills and a beautiful city, St. Paul.

He made St. Paul the capital of the winter playground of his lands and conducted a celebration once a year, what is known as the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

"Elin's Princess of the West Wind is the niece of Prince of the West Wind," Kathy Schoenfelder, Elin's mother, said.

Schoenfelder is formerly of Winsted and was crowned Miss Winsted in 1996.

She decided to run as a Winter Carnival Queen of Snows Candidate because she enjoyed her time as Miss Winsted and thought it would be fun, she said.

She did not run as former Miss Winsted though. She was sponsored by Roger and Jackie Bonfe of Bonfe's Auto Service and Body Repair in St. Paul. Each candidate must be sponsored, Kathy Schoenfelder said.

"The sponsor pays a flat fee, and any expense that a candidate encounters is paid for until that fee is met; then the candidate must pay our of her own pocket," Kathy said.

The business gets advertising by sponsoring, so it's a good deal for both parties, Schoenfelder said.

During the carnival, she and the other royal figures stayed at the St. Paul Hotel and visited schools, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, the University of Minnesota cancer hospice, and hospice homes to "spread the carnival," she said.

"We bring the carnival to those who can't make it out," she said. "We tell the legend, sing songs, hand out buttons, and visit."

Last summer, Schoenfelder's duties continued all summer long, from Wednesday to Sunday every week, she said.

"We went to community festivals and parades in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, and then Saturday and Sunday all day long," she said.

"We also traveled to Winnipeg, Florida, South Dakota, and Octoberfest," Schoenfelder said.

"I was crowned in January 2001 and gave over the crown this past January. It was a busy year," she said.

Being a candidate for the Winter Carnival entailed more work than it did for Miss Winsted, Schoenfelder said.

"There are two months of interviewing in St. Paul. It would be quite a commute if a candidate lived far away, but a person could still compete even if she did live farther away," she said. Anyone 18 and older from any place in the state can compete, she added.

Schoenfelder would like to stay involved in the Winter Carnival by helping out with the fundraising portion, she said.

"I couldn't do it (princess) for two years in a row because of the time commitment it demands, but I want to still be involved in it somehow," she said.

"I met great friends and had a wonderful experience," she said.

Schoenfelder is a 2001 graduate of University of St. Thomas with a degree in public relations. She is employed in the sales department at Schoenfelder Painting, her brother, Mark's, company.

Next on Schoenfelder's to do list is Japan. She applied to go teach English-as-a-second language to Japanese students.

"My brother, Matt, did it about five years ago and he loved it. I would like to travel and thought it would be a great opportunity," She said.

If accepted, she would leave this July for Japan, Schoenfelder said. She could be there anywhere from a year to as long as three years, she said.

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