Zoe is crowned festival queen
THIS year's Tweed Valley Banana Festival Queen, 18-year-old Zoe Schuettpeltz, had entered the Teen Queen quest for each of the past three years.
“I didn't get anything, so I thought I may give the queen a go,” she joked yesterday while attending the Tweed River Spectacular in Murwillumbah - her first official function as reigning queen.
“Now here I am. My sister was in it for a couple of years and she got Miss Personality. I've got one better!”
Ms Schuettpeltz, of Murwillumbah, was crowned Festival Queen at the official Festival Ball in the Murwillumbah Civic Centre about 9pm Saturday.
After a late night, and a little partying, she was out on the banks of the Tweed River at Budd Park in south Murwillumbah with hundreds of other locals and the other queen entrants.
Ms Schuettpelz, who was sponsored by the Condong Bowls Club and works in Murwillumbah at the Subway outlet, said she was looking forward to attending official events through the year and coming back next year as reigning queen “without having to sell raffle tickets”.
The best queen contestant at that task was Jessy Curry, sponsored by the Murwillumbah Central Rotary Club, who was named Charity Queen after raising more than $3,800.
The queens' official chaperone, Karyn Skennar, said the 10 entrants raised just over $11,000 for charity.
On Saturday thousands of people lined the main central streets of Murwillumbah to watch the annual Festival Parade.
“Everyone was commenting afterwards on how colourful it was,” Ms Skennar said.
“We also had lots of music involved. We spaced the parade so there was always music.
“The Samba Blisstas marching band was leading it up and they are always bright and colourful.”
Banana Festival coordinator Chris Chrisostomos said the final two days of the festival had been a huge success.
“It was one of our better community events,” he said. “Today on the river has been fantastic. They've been standing eight or nine deep on the riverbank.”
About 160 people attended Saturday night's ball and during the day events, warm weather had led to queues of more than 30 people just to get an ice-cream, Mr Chrisostomos said.
Bob Watson, a spokesman for the Murwillumbah Lions Club, which was given the responsibility of managing the parade, praised groups and businesses that entered floats, particularly numerous schools.
“While the parade this year was somewhat smaller than previous years the quality was certainly enhanced by the dedicated work of our local primary schools,” Mr Watson said.
“We would like to congratulate the schools, teachers, parents and all who helped in producing such well-presented floats for the enjoyment of our children and the community who lined the streets to watch the parade.” Hundreds of families took advantage of a special fun day after the parade in Murwillumbah's central Knox Park, where a number of free rides and free entertainment was provided.
While the Festival Queen was not announced until the ball in the evening, prince and princess quest winners were.
The 2009 Festival Prince is Dylan Clark, the Senior Princess Kristal Everson and the Junior Princess Amelie McInerney.
The 2009 Teen Queen is Ashlee McLeod.
The queen contestants and their sponsors were:
- Jessica Hitchens, Wards Removals
- Carrie Bailey, the Lions Club of Murwillumbah
- Amanda Cook, Sunshine Sugar
- Zoe Schuettpeltz, Condong Bowls Club
- Alice Taylor, Northern River Signs
- Jessy Curry, Rotary Club of Murwillumbah Central
- Melissa Gleave, LJ Hooker Kingscliff
- Amy Carroll, Australian Sumo Federation
- Bethanie Hunting, Murwillumbah Services Club
- Chloe Reynolds, BUS with us
Teen Queen entrants were: Hannah Mudge, Kaitlyn Skennar, Nicola Albury, Breanna Hayes, Sharni Thomason, Laura Gilbert, Laura Bailey, Maddie Miller, Leanora Collett, Eltanin Koffee Light, Ashlee McLeod, Hayley Swift, Sophie Reynolds, Gemma Harding and Heidi Reynolds.