Miss Strawberry Days 2017 named | PostIndependent.com

Miss Strawberry Days 2017 named

Hundreds gathered around the Sayre Park stage Friday night for the crowning of Miss Strawberry Days 2017.

"We need a drum roll," master of ceremonies Ron Milhorn of KMTS said before announcing the winner. The crowd began emulating the sound of a drumroll by clapping their hands on their legs. "There we go, keep it up, keep it up," Milhorn said.

McKinley Jade Mueller accepted the crown from her predecessor, Abby Kruse.

"I'm so glad to be back in this beautiful valley and see all these friendly faces," said Kruse, who has just completed her first year at Western Washington University. She has not yet declared a major but is considering finance.

A $3,000 scholarship accompanied the crown. The title is only the latest award for Mueller, who in May received a Bobby G award for outstanding actress in Glenwood Springs High School's production of "The Addams Family." The Bobby G award is comparable to a statewide Tony. During her junior year, the recent GSHS graduate won the Colorado State Speech Festival in dramatic interpretation. She was also active in the school's Key Club. Mueller will attend Wake Forest University in the fall, where she will study international affairs.

In keeping with schedule adjustments introduced in 2016, the contestants completed the question and answer portion in advance of Friday's presentation. The Strawberry Days Princesses paraded in front of the crowd before the Miss Strawberry Days contestants took the stage.

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It's only one part of a weekend full of festivities, which many refer to as a Glenwood Springs homecoming of sorts. More than 100 arts and crafts vendors will remain in Sayre Park through the weekend, with goods ranging from paintings to state-made liquor to beauty products made of goat milk.

Strawberry Days is presented by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. Chamber president and CEO Marianne Virgili recognized Jennifer Rose and Janelle Lundin for their work not only coordinating Miss Strawberry Days, but also serving as mentors for the 17 contestants.

"Before they became involved it was a very small scholarship program," Virgili said. Now, the event awards $8,000 worth of scholarships.

Miss Congeniality Alexa Fiscus, a recent Roaring Fork High School graduate, received a $500 scholarship. Second runner-up and $2,000 went to Coal Ridge High School graduate Madison Starbuck, who will study nursing at Colorado Mesa University. First runner-up Lindsay Busk received a $2,500 scholarship. She's a recent Glenwood Springs High School graduate who will attend San Diego State University and study political science.

The contestants will appear again in today's Strawberry Days Parade at 10 a.m., which begins at Ninth Street and Grand Avenue. The festival concludes at 6 p.m. Sunday.

IF YOU GO

Strawberry Days Saturday schedule

10 a.m.: Phil Long Honda Strawberry Days Parade, begins at Ninth Street and Grand Avenue

After parade: Free strawberries and ice cream while supplies last

10 a.m.-8 p.m.: Arts and crafts, Holy Cross Electric Family Fest

10 a.m.-10 p.m.: Food court

11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.: Coors Beer Garden

12:30-1:30 p.m.: Gora Gora Orkestrar

2-4:30 p.m. Let Them Roar

5-7 p.m.: Scones-Kinder Band

7:30 p.m.: Freddy Jones Band

Sunday schedule

7:30-11 a.m.: Rotary Pancake breakfast

10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Holy Cross Electric Family Fest

10 a.m.-6 p.m.: Food court

11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: Coors Beer Garden

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Sleepy Justice

1-2:30 p.m.: The Dave Nortor Band

1 p.m. Kiwanis Ball Race

3-6 p.m. La Fiebre del Sabor and Conjunto Revelacion

Learn more at strawberrydays.com, and follow the Post Independent on social media for updates throughout the weekend.