By Chelsea Reese
The Colorado State Fair Fiesta Queen Pageant, which seeks out a queen who best represents Latino culture, will be held at CSU-Pueblo’s Hoag Hall April 23, at 1 p.m.
This year, the pageant’s theme is “Una reflexiόn de la Familia,” according to a flier.
For almost half a century, the Fiesta Committee has hosted the Colorado State Fair Fiesta Queen Pageant as a scholarship pageant. The committee’s goal is to find women who best represents Latino culture and to help those women pay for a higher education.
“I will be Colorado’s official representative of all Hispanic people. I will serve and I will work willingly to promote and assist with the Fiesta Committee and its activities at all times,” according to the Expectations Statement all contestants sign prior to the competing in the pageant.
The committee is also looking for women who are respected by the community.
“I must act, speak, and dress according to the esteem that this title deserves at all times while I am in the public eye,” according to the same statement. “I will represent high moral and ethical character throughout my reign.”
Seven women have applied and were accepted to compete in this year’s pageant, which is an increase from last year’s interest in the pageant, said Jeanette Romero, the pageant’s coordinator. Last year, four women competed for the crown, however, interest will vary over the years, she said.
This year, the women competing for the title of Colorado State Fair Fiesta Queen will be, Yansi Ortiz, 19, Avon, Colo., Ashley Bernal, 20, Boulder, Colo., Desirae Mendez, 18, Pueblo, Colo., Felicia Jaramillo, 18, Pueblo, Colo., Crystal Urban, 19, La Junta, Colo., Alysha Prieto, 18, Arvada, Colo., and Arisa Leija, 18, Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Fiesta Queen will receive a $2,500 scholarship. First Attendant will receive $1,200, Second Attendant will receive $1,000 and Third and Fourth Attendant will receive $625 to go toward their college education.
In order to compete in the pageant each contestant must be a Latina female, between 18 and 22 years old, Romero said. They must also be a U.S. citizen and a Colorado resident for six months prior to the application deadline, Jan. 28. The women cannot have kids, be pregnant or be living with a partner, and she can’t have history of being married, she said.
The women must also demonstrate an adequate educational history by having a 3.0 grade point average or higher, Romero said.
In competition for the crown, they will rehearse four hours every Saturday, beginning March 26, and ending April 16, according to their rules and regulation contract.
During the pageant, five judges will evaluate each woman by their personal interview, three minute speech, talent, evening gown appearance and an impromptu response related to the pageant’s theme, according to the contract.
The Fiesta Committee prefers to employ judges who can speak and understand some Spanish, Romero said.
“We are finding more and more girls that are able to speak Spanish, and they speak Spanish in their speech,” she said. “Well, if they don’t know what they are saying how do they know it’s related to the topic?”
The woman crowned this year’s queen will receive an array of responsibilities, on top of being the representative of Latino culture and a respectable woman, Romero said. The queen will also be required to make appearances and performances throughout her reign. Some of these appearances are the Parade of Lights, State Fair Parade, Fiesta Day Parade and Kids Day Parade.
The queen will also be made available by request of various institutions, she said, such as schools and churches.
“Basically, if someone calls and says ‘we have a performance time, can the Fiesta Queen come?’ We try to accommodate it and make it happen,” Romero said.
The pageant will cost a minimum of $10,000 this year, because of the “little things,” Romero said, such as flowers, food and sashes. However, the big things also help contribute to the cost of the pageant.
The Coronation Dinner and Ball will follow the pageant at 6 p.m., in the Ballroom of the Occhiato University Center.
The pageant is open for anyone to attend. Tickets are available at Music Man Cds & Tapes, located at 600 W. Northern Ave., and cost $20 for the pageant, dinner and coronation ball. Tickets for just the pageant are $5.
Corporate tables are also available for $250, which seat 10 people each.
For more information, contact Romero at 719-214-7141.