New Queen Katie's crowning moment
By LEIGH PRITCHARD
LEADING up to Saturday night's Jacaranda Queen crowning, Katie Hirst admitted feeling tense. But with one simple sentence ? 'and the 2005 Jacaranda Queen is Katie Hirst' ? the tension vanished. "It was really tense and nervous, it had all been building up to that night," the 18-year-old said yesterday. "But it was amazing, a fantastic feeling, it really is a big honour. "Last night was the climax." Twenty-year-old Kelly Bowling was named Jacaranda Princess, while Karla Bursle, 20, was awarded Jacaranda Holiday Princess during the ceremony at Grafton's Market Square. Katie raised $5,500 after entering the quest in July. "It has been a really good experience for all girls, we are all enjoying ourselves," she said. Katie has a long association with the Jacaranda Festival, which this year celebrates its 71st anniversary. Prior to Saturday night she had danced at the past 10 ceremonies. But Katie said she was blown away by the crowd and the support she received on Saturday night. "I have learnt it is the efforts of volunteers that makes the Festival the success that it is," she said. Five secret judges selected Leigh Turner as the Junior Jacaranda Queen and Brearna Blanchard as the Junior Jacaranda Princess. The junior candidates raised $6,150. Junior Jacaranda director Karen Crispin said there was a 'fabulous' crowd at Saturday night's crowning ceremony. Mrs Crispin said a warm and clear evening made for a 'beautiful ceremony'. "It was the biggest crowd in five years," Mrs Crispin said. Festival stalwart Anne de Graaf received her life membership badge during the ceremony.