MYRTLEFORD FESTIVAL: Quest for a classy queen

IN the age of trash television that celebrates monstrous glitzy pageants, the classy teen queen still reigns supreme in Myrtleford at a festival that has survived for more than 50 years.

The quest for a queen of the annual Myrtleford Festival has been ongoing for 54 years and co-ordinator Liz Rouse said it was one of the reasons why the festival has survived.

“It’s something that has always been a successful part of the festival and I don’t ever see it dying,” Ms Rouse said.

“People love that it is traditional and every year girls talk about coming to watch the princesses and they want to become a princess one day.”

It is not a beauty contest, there is no bikini parading and it is about as far as you could get from reality television shows.”

Ms Rouse said on Saturday, which was International Women’s Day, that the Myrtleford Queen celebrates strong and intelligent young women.

“It’s based on general knowledge, deportment, personality and public speaking,” she said.

On Friday night at the Lion’s Club ball, Marian College’s school captain Georgia Zamperoni, 17, was crowned queen out of the 10 young women, dubbed “princesses-in-waiting”, who vied for the title.

“It was amazing. Me and Jake (Jake Rouse, Georgia’s partner) just stood there and thought, ‘Is this serious?’. It was very surreal,” she said.

“You feel so proud of yourself.”

Princesses were judged on an interview, their speech at the ball and their manners and conversation skills at a formal dinner.

Georgia, who wants to study children’s psychology after she finishes high school, said she grew up watching the princesses before her older sister, Jenna Zamperoni, won the title three years ago.

“Every year you watch the princesses speeches and we’d go to watch the pretty dresses and then it turned into something more for me,” she said.

She thanked her sponsors at the Savoy Club who nominated her to compete.

The Myrtleford Festival had about 2000 people descend on the town across the long weekend.

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