Festival Senior Queen named
When Elizabeth Duggan turned 80, she promised herself she would enter the Alexandra Blossom Festival Senior Queen Contest. She just never expected to win it.
Duggan was one of seven senior queen contestants vying for the 60th anniversary title and was crowned on Monday.
‘‘I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment. The blossom festival has always been special to me. I didn’t enter it because it’s the 60th anniversary, but because I always said I would do it when I was 80 and I turned 80 last month so I could not really get out of it.’’
Duggan had lived in Alexandra since 1969 and had been involved in a long list of community organisations, including spending eight years unpaid as the Blossom Festival secretary. In 2003, she received a Paul Harris fellowship award from the Rotary Club and a Queen’s Service medal in 2004 for services to the community.
While the older generation were celebrated, the 2016 princesses were also part of the proceedings and introduced themselves to the audience of about 150. Alexandra’s youth intend continuing to support the town’s iconic event and have this year entered a florrey - a newer, smaller version of the classic par- ade float built around a supermarket trolley.
Youth Base group leader Hannah Randall said they planned to continue to contribute to the success of the festival, and planned to do so for years to come. ’’The heart of the festival is youth.’’
Despite a few ‘‘family favourites’’ dropping off the festival calendar such as the drag racing, small rally buggies and WoolOn competition, the floats would be out in full force, and the freebies remained a popular favourite.
‘‘Coming home with arms full of cheap stall junk was the best part. Being able to have a hat full of lollies by the end of the parade was awesome.’’
Event manager Martin McPherson said there were over 20 florries entered in the procession, alongside the usual displays, such as vintage cars driving the former queens, trucks and pipe bands, as well as ‘‘some surprises’’.
‘‘A highlight for me personally are the 30 former queens to help with the celebrations, as well as having Jordan Luck, Peter Urlich and Eddie Rayner coming to play. It will be fantastic.’’