Fes­ti­val Se­nior Queen named

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN AND JACK­SON BANKS

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.’’

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