Colorado State University-Pueblo student Andrea Casados has overcome adversity to become local royalty. The sophomore political science major was crowned Fiesta Queen in July and will be participating in a slew of events this weekend at the Colorado State Fair.
Casados competed with eight other college students and was judged and crowned by Pueblo’s Fiesta Committee, which works in conjunction with the fair.
As a fair ambassador, Casados has been tasked with attending all of the events hosted there, most importantly those on Fiesta Day.
Her day will include participation in the Fiesta Parade and singing at the Coke and Grand Stand Stages. All of this will be done in a quinceanera dress that she has never seen before.
“Even if I show up and my dress isn’t what I thought it was I still have to say ‘thank you.’ This is so great,’” Casados joked.
Along with her involvement with the Fiesta Committee, Casados is the senate speaker for CSU-Pueblo’s Associated Students’ Government, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences senator and a part of CSU-Pueblo’s choir.
“You can never say you missed an opportunity when you didn’t go out and get it,” Casados said.
Casados’s ambition has largely been motivated by the hardships she has faced.
She entered college as a first generation student. “My parents didn’t even finish high school,” she said.
Two years ago, her best friend committed suicide. Casados’s role as Fiesta Queen has given her an influential platform that she plans to use to speak out against suicide.
Casados is also adamant about using her newfound power to express the importance of education to Pueblo youths.
“There are a lot of young girls who are Hispanic, who come from the same background I do, who grew up in a Lower East Side neighborhood, who don’t think they can go to college,” Casados said.
Growing up, Casados saw her predecessors as role models. She plans on continuing that legacy for a new generation.
“Girls look to you and I always mention that, before I am a queen, I am a student and my education is first and foremost.”
“There are things you cannot overcome and that’s fine but you can do it,” she said. “I’m a prime example.”
The Fiesta Committee established the role of Fiesta Queen in 1967 to promote Fiesta Day. Since its inception, the committee’s goal has been to make the queen “a Hispanic staple in the community” Casados said.
Along with the crown and influential role, Casados will receive a scholarship.
She is contracted to attend five Latino Chamber of Commerce meetings, make four school appearances, as well as performances at a number of local venues throughout the year. She is already scheduled to speak at six elementary schools this year, including the one she attended as a child.
The Fiesta Parade, which will stretch from Northern Avenue to Sprague Avenue, begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, and Casados’s performance is at 3 p.m. at the Coke Stage.