In the South
The crowning of the Blossom Queen is one of the highlights of the Alexandra Blossom Festival and this year there are 10 princesses vying for the title.
The Mirror wanted to get to know the contestants a bit better so we've asked them three questions about the festival and Alexandra.
1. What makes a good Blossom Festival Queen?
2. Why is the Alexandra Blossom Festival so important and special to Alexandra?
Stacey Dennison, 17, representing the Alexandra Men's Shed. 1: A good Queen should have the ability to communicate with the people of the district and show she is in tune with the young and old. I'd like to be a role model for the younger girls of Alexandra.
2: Because it is the main event where the whole community comes together to have fun, support the town and its businesses and enjoy everyone's company. It's special how a place can join together like that.
Mel Gaul, 23, representing The Terrace School 1: Someone who cares about the past, present and future of the Alexandra community. As a teacher, I am in a position to influence the future generation of Alexandra. I believe I will be seen as a positive role model to the youth in our town and can be their voice if they are not heard.
2: It highlights the great community spirit of Alexandra. Working with each other is at the core of this special event and brings people from all walks of life together.
Sidonee Gibson, 20, representing Central Otago WasteBusters 1: A good Queen should be friendly, kind, down-to-earth and know how to grade cherries! I only moved here last Christmas, so this is my first festival.
2: Because it celebrates the livelihood of the Central Otago orchards and Otago as a whole.
Lexie Hay, 17, representing the Alexandra/Dunstan Lions Clubs 1: A good Queen should be friendly and have a positive attitude towards the role and the Alexandra community they will be representing. I love this community that I have grown up in.
2: It is an opportunity to positively showcase the Central Otago community. The long history of the Blossom Festival makes it so special.
Sarah Hesson, 17, representing Life is Precious 1: A good Queen is a good role model, a caring and approachable person. I would like to carry on the family tradition; my aunty was a Blossom Festival Queen in the 1970s and I am very proud of my family's involvement in the fruit-growing industry around here.
2: It celebrates our unique environment. It really brings the community together, and it's great to see everyone from young children to the elderly getting into the spirit of the Blossom Festival.
Paloma Kelly, 16, representing St Gerard's School 1: Enthusiasm for Alexandra and the community. Also, someone that cares about what's going on and is willing to step in and get involved.
2: It has been going on a long time and I think it's really a highlight that people look forward to during the year. It's Alexandra's own thing and part of its history. It's also great seeing everyone getting together and making such great floats - that's probably always been my favourite bit.
Kelly McCauley, 18, representing Alzheimers Society Central Otago 1: The Queen is someone who people should admire and I consider myself a good role model.
2: It is our unique way of celebrating the start of the new season, and it is fun for everyone.
Leila Parbhu, 17, representing the Alexandra Musical Society 1: A good Queen would be someone who is approachable, friendly, enthusiastic and helpful in the community.
2: It showcases the beautiful lifestyle and landscape of our town. This, along with the people and weather, is what makes the festival so special.
Claudia van Dam, 17, representing the Alexandra Rotary Club/ Terrace Kindergarten 1: You have to have a nice, outgoing personality and to be a good role model towards the younger kids in the community.
2: It gives the community a chance to get together to celebrate the beautiful blossoms we are lucky to have, and the fantastic town we live in.
Cara Wiffen, 18, representing the Alexandra District Youth Trust 1: The Queen needs to be someone who is friendly, outgoing and approachable for anyone, of any age. She needs to care about Alexandra and the people in it.
2: It is an historic icon and so many people have had the opportunity to experience it. So many people have good memories from the festival and hopefully many more to come. It is a very community-based event, with a lot of involvement from various people in our community. The Blossom Festival also promotes and brings revenue into Alexandra.
- The Mirror