Strain named FITS queen

    Dreams do come true.
    The dreams of Holly Strain certainly came true after nearly a month of hard work and planning as she was crowned the 2007 Fun in the Sun Queen on Canada Day.
    Leading up to the very moment of truth at Pither’s Point Park, Strain and the four other contestants—Sydney Boustead, Rachel Dutton, Danielle Payne, and Paula Vangel—shared hugs and words of encouragement.
    “We all were encouraging each other because we all worked hard together,” Strain said.
    Prior to the crowning, the five had waved to spectators of the Canada Day parade from atop their floats, answered a question crafted by one another in front of the audience at the park, and then auctioned off the picnic baskets they had put together.
    After the judges made their decision, the girls gathered around the stage and waited anxiously for the pageant organizers to call out the winner.
    “It’s really nerve-raking waiting up there in front of everyone, especially when the first and second princesses had already been called,” Strain admitted.
    “I was shaking I was so nervous,” she added.
    However, those on hand wouldn’t have know as Strain sported a broad smile the entire time.
    When last year’s queen, Alyssa Holliday, announced Strain was the winner, loud cheers of joy could be heard all around. Holliday immediately threw her arms around Strain—embracing her in a friendly hug.
    Bouquets of flowers and gifts were thrown her way and the crown was placed on her head.
    She became so excited and overwhelmed about her new title, in fact, that she had no words to describe it.
    “I’m just so overwhelmed . . . I wasn’t expecting this,” she said.
    And Strain still had no words to explain how happy she was even a few days after the event.
    “It’s such a great feeling, it hasn’t set in yet,” she remarked.
    Strain, who was sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart, decided to enter the pageant because she liked watching it while growing up.
    “It seemed like it would be something fun to do in the summer so I decided to get involved,” she said.
    Vangel wound up being named First Princess while Dutton was Second Princess. Dutton also won Miss Congeniality, which was voted on through secret ballot by the contestants themselves.
    The three royalty will spend the next year representing Fort Frances in community events such as parades, as well as through community service hours.
    Each one will have to put in 40-50 hours of community service before she will receive the scholarship money that goes along with the titles.
    The five contestants took part in eight events prior to Canada Day, including hosting a spaghetti dinner, garage and bake sales, and staging the annual entertainment night.
    They also had to take part in community service events, such as Meals on Wheels, and each create a float for the Canada Day parade.
    Each was judged by three judges (one of them being a secret judge) at every event they attended.
    Some of the categories the judges were looking at were attitude, enthusiasm, customer interaction, participation, personality, and appearance.
    The money each girl will receive has not been determined yet as it is based on the profits from the Fun in the Sun event.
    As mentioned, they will not receive their scholarships until next year’s crowning to ensure the girls fulfill their required duties as royalty.
    “This year’s group of girls worked really hard and they were one of the best groups I’ve worked with,” said pageant organizer Melissa Gushulak.
    “They were always positive and helpful,” she added.