BY GABE LICHT
MINNEAPOLIS, MN It was a busy five days as former Delano Ambassador Heidi Oare participated in the Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program.
Oare arrived July 19, and got to know the 55 other Queen of the Lakes candidates.
“The candidates went upstairs and mingled for an hour or so,” Oare said. “We just talked to each other about where we’re going to college in the fall and things like that.”
Their first organized event was the community luncheon, where many of the candidates’ parents and the judges joined them.
“We didn’t know who the judges were, but they were present,” Oare said. “We had an on-stage question. It was, ‘What have you done to inspire your community?”
After that informal judging situation, the candidates had their first official judging session.
“We sat in a room for two minutes with four judges,” Oare said. “Each judge asked a get-to-know-you question. They asked some questions based off our applications.”
Judges also joined the candidates on the alumni boat cruise down the Mississippi River, where Oare met past and present Aquatennial representatives. Judges asked the question, “What’s something interesting that people would remember about you?”
“I talked about how my family does log rolling and lumberjack shows within Alaska, Maine, and Wisconsin,” Oare said. “I grew up log rolling.”
The last event of the night was coronation practice.
July 20 began with a round-robin judging session.
“We had 30 seconds with each judge and they had one question for us,” Oare said.
Next, was the meet the candidates event.
“I did a baseball theme and talked about different facts about Delano: How the population has doubled, our 4th of July celebration, and I talked about the schools,” Oare said.
Supper at Fogo de Chao was next, followed by a Segway ride to and through the Torchlight Parade.
“With the awkward stops, it was really hard to balance on a Segway on Hennepin Avenue,” Oare said.
The third day brought a tour of the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. While there, the candidates heard a lecture on networking and creating a profile for business, as well as a lesson on self-defense from a retired FBI agent.
Oare also had the chance to introduce herself as an Aquatennial ambassador, for judging purposes.
Following lunch at the Melting Pot, the candidates visited the law office of James Patterson, who served as Aquatennial Commodore in 2010, when Delano Ambassador Alex Forster was Queen of the Lakes. Patterson shared pictures and memories from his year as commodore. That led up to the commodore’s party, where a new commodore and two new captains were introduced.
July 22, the candidates walked through coronation practice in their formal gowns and had a final judging session at Ted Mann Concert Hall.
“They asked us, ‘Regardless of if you get the crown or not, what will you take away from this experience?’” Oare said. “I said something about the friendships I have made throughout the week, and all the interviewing and public speaking skills I learned.”
Candidates then had a chance to go on a boat ride with the Minnetonka Power Squadron, complete with a picnic lunch on Big Island.
That night concluded with the Rockin’ the Waves Dance Party for royalty and alumni.
July 23 was the big day, complete with a final rehearsal, coronation, the Target fireworks, and a pizza party.
At coronation, a representative from Northfield was crowned Queen of the Lakes and representatives from Winsted and Granite Falls were crowned princesses. Oare said she got to know all three ambassadors throughout the week.
She roomed with a representative from Dassel.
“It’s alphabetical by town name,” Oare said. “This is the first time they’ve done it like that.”
What was the best part of Aquatennial?
“My favorite part was probably meet the candidates, because I got to watch Kalley (Koch) last year, and it was something I prepared for a lot, and it was fun to present to everyone,” Oare said. “It was in the City Center. People walking by going to work would stop and watch.”
As for her time as a Delano Ambassador, she enjoyed getting to meet new people.
“For me, it was getting to really talk to community members and reaching out to people, and them coming up to me with or without a crown and knowing who I was,” Oare said. “During the parades, this sounds cheesy, but watching the little girls’ faces light up because you’re a real princess to them, even though you’re just a real person doing what you love.”
Oare’s future plans include attending Iowa State University, though she is undecided on a degree.
“Growing up in Delano, I loved the sense of community,” Oare said. “You go into Coborn’s to get a gallon of milk, and you know everyone so it takes an hour. I wanted to go to a big school were sports are a big deal, but it’s still a community.”