Red Wing's Smith earns Aquatennial titleCarly Smith stood in shock Friday night while her name was announced as the 2013 Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Carly Smith stood in shock Friday night while her name was announced as the 2013 Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes.
“There were a thousand thoughts per second going through my head just trying to process what happened,” she said.
Meanwhile, 45 other young women around her were cheering, smiling and applauding.
It wasn’t until Smith stepped forward to receive her crown from last year’s queen that everything began to set in. That’s when it hit her in a rush and the tears started flowing.
Smith earned an opportunity to attend Aquatennial because of a similar honor she received around this time last year. She was one of three 2011 Red Wing Royal Ambassadors.
But even though the other two remain ambassadors until this year’s coronation Aug. 5, Smith’s reign effectively ended when the Aquatennial crown was placed on her head.
“I’m officially a former Red Wing Ambassador,” Smith said.
It was a position in which she was honored to serve, but she’s already focused on what lies ahead under her new title.
The Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes — along with two Aquatennial princesses — is responsible for representing Minneapolis all over the state, nation and world. It’s a role Smith welcomes with open arms.
“Minneapolis really stresses the relationship between their festival, Aquatennial, and the festivals of surrounding communities. I look forward to seeing how strong those relationships are and making those connections,” Smith said.
Prior to being named Queen of the Lakes, Smith and the other Aquatennial candidates got the opportunity to connect closely with the Twin Cities.
Aquatennial, known as “The Best Days of Summer,” started July 13. The festival had a full agenda of events spanning more than a week that had candidates attending a tennis competition, bowling tournament, water ski show, history museum exhibit, ice cream social, ballroom dance, evening 5K, senior luncheon and more.
Now that the Aquatennial celebration has ended, events will start reaching farther out than Minneapolis. For starters, Smith will soon bring her new Aquatennial family home to Red Wing as they attend the upcoming Red Wing Royal Ambassadors coronation during the 30th annual River City Days.
In addition to appearances at area festivals, Smith will take part in plenty of volunteer activities during her reign as Queen of the Lakes. She said she’s excited for those coming up in August, such as the Target back-to-school shopping event.
“For me wanting to be a teacher, it’ll be fun to work with the kids,” she said. Smith is a full-time student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she is studying elementary education and dance.
For her, Aquatennial is the top of the top. She said she isn’t looking to become Miss Minnesota or Miss America. Instead, she’s glad she was able to achieve Queen of the Lakes and expects her time spent competing for crowns to end there.
Smith is the first Red Wing resident to earn the esteemed title in nearly 30 years. Miss Red Wing Lori Grote Wetsch was named Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes in 1985.
More recently, a fellow area resident received the honor. Miss Lake City Megan Harms Feigal was named Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes in 2003.