A queen in hot pink
The year was 1986. The blossoms were out and Alexandra’s main street was crowded with onlookers trying to get a glimpse over heads of the approaching festival floats.
Michelle Davies, then a 19-year-old post office clerk, was sitting on a float ‘‘Tea for Two’’ made by the Catholic Church. She was dressed in a hot-pink gown, adorned with a string of pearls and white gloves that pulled up to her elbows.
The float, sponsored by New World, displayed a giant white and pink teapot and two cups and saucers made of crepe-paper flowers. About 400 rolls of crepe paper were used on the float, together with 9kg of glue and 49kg of wallpaper paste.
In the earlier days, there were a large number of floats, and huge crowds drawn to the Blossom Festival. To be a float princess was an honour and extra special for Davies whose mother Rosalie Alexander (nee Breen) was crowned festival queen in 1961. History repeated when Davies, on the Tea for Two float, was crowned festival queen.
‘‘I was really excited to be asked. I wanted to do it because mum had done it. Back then, you won by your float being voted the best. It is different now - judges decide who the queen is going to be. Back then, the Blossom Festival was still really big.
There were so many more floats and lots of people would come to town for it. The queen had to wear a funny crown and cape and we had to stand on the roof of the pavilion at Pioneer Park.
The queen had to read out a speech that had been written for her, then we got driven around in vintage cars.’’
As part of her prize, she also won a return trip to Alexandra in Victoria, Australia.
‘‘It was a time I will never forget. The things we had to do for the week .. I had to have time off work to go to all the events...We were quite on display going to everything. It was like royalty almost.’’
Over the years she had, like her mother, and mother’s mother Gert Breen, helped make floats.
Her grandmother was heavily involved in float-making, and had helped make floats since the first festival in 1957, Davies said.
‘‘She won the Senior Blossom Festival Queen title one year. Mum, mum’s sisters, my sisters...have all been on floats. It was just the thing to do.’’
❚ style nachos and traditional meals like Pad Thai. Entry is free and families are welcome.
The event is licensed and there will be a bar within the site, tables, heaters and marquees. Entertainment and music is provided.