By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN - Emily McConkey, 20, thought she was done with parades after recently passing on her reign as Aquatennial princess.
That was her idea before she was nominated to be this year’s grand marshal for the Cokato Corn Carnival parade Monday, Aug. 10 at 6 p.m.
“That was a really exciting phone call,” McConkey said, who was asked by Jody Danielson on behalf of the Cokato Corn Carnival committee.
“I’m honored to be a part of that,” McConkey said.
Being grand marshal is a way for Cokato to show appreciation for the work McConkey has done on behalf of the city throughout the past two years. McConkey was the 2007-08 Miss Cokato, and the 2009 Aquatennial princess.
“We’re very proud of Emily,” Danielson said, “and how she has represented Cokato and the Aquatennial.”
“She’s been a great example of what our program stands for,” she added.
McConkey will lead the Corn Carnival parade Monday, Aug. 10 beginning at 6 p.m., which will start off the three days of fun.
“I thought I was done with parades,” McConkey laughed.
“But this will be a fun one the home parades are always the best,” she said, having experienced many parades in her past two years as royalty.
As much as McConkey loves the Corn Carnival, she doesn’t like corn.
She just remembers having braces and getting corn stuck in them, as well as being forced to eat her mother’s creamed corn.
“I’m not a fan,” she said.
She also doesn’t like “spinning rides.”
Her best memories of the Cokato Corn Carnival are in middle school and early high school, when she and her friends would all meet at once. She also remembers the excitement for the new school year to start.
McConkey’s year as Aquatennial princess was amazing, she said.
“It was nothing I had ever imagined,” she said.
Through the program, McConkey was able to travel and met many great people, she said.
With two princesses, a queen, two captains, and a commodore, by the end of the reign, they all became like family, McConkey said.
Over New Year’s, McConkey and her Aquatennial family traveled to Pasadena, CA, where they participated in the Rose Bowl parade.
“That was really exciting,” she said.
Throughout her reign, McConkey learned time management for balancing both college work and the Aquatennial duties.
Since her reign has ended, McConkey has been trying to relax and have some fun with her friends before heading back to school.
McConkey is working toward a double major in math education and psychology at South Dakota State University in Brookings.
She wants to first become a math teacher and then work for a master’s degree to be a guidance counselor.
As she enters college this year as a junior, there hasn’t been a year when McConkey hasn’t been royalty.
“I can finally be a college student,” she said. “When I come home, I’m home.”
In her free time, which she should have more of now, McConkey enjoys reading, golfing, and the outdoors.
Though her reign as princess and Miss Cokato may be over, the experiences and memories will last a lifetime.
“It has strengthened the person that I am. I learned a lot,” McConkey said.
“I love Cokato . . . I’m very proud of where I came from,” she said.