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Strawberry Queen, Citizen of the Year honored

Sweet is the head that wears the crown.

An overflow crowd lined the pavilion at Centennial Park in Chassell for the Strawberry Festival Queen competition Friday night. Thirteen contestants vied for the honor in the culmination of a week’s worth of effort. Sixty percent of the judges’ score came from the formal sit-down interview. Twenty percent was determined by the responses to two questions asked at Friday’s event. One was directed to all contenders, what trait do you value most in others and why? The second query was randomly selected by the evening’s host, 2020 queen Annika Seigel. The final 20 percent of the score came from how each candidate presented themselves during the competition.

The winner was Houghton High School’s Madison Mattila. She will be attending Michigan Tech as a business student in the fall. Mattila says it is an honor to be selected, and friends and family played a huge part in getting her ready for the competition. Still, she wasn’t sure if the work was going to pay off.

My brother and my boyfriend actually ran through all the questions many, many times, and I didn’t feel prepared. When I saw all the people out here tonight, I actually felt less prepared, but I guess I did okay.

Gracia Perala was named First Attendant and Kady Fontaine was selected as Miss Congeniality.

In 2020, only the queen naming took place due to COVID-19, so the participants were invited to take part in this year’s parade. Seven of the 12 opted in on top of this year’s cast on Saturday.

Pam Hiltunen was honored with the Citizen of the Year award. She says that her family has been involved with the Chassell Lions for as long as she can remember, and the Copper Country Strawberry Festival has always held a special place in her heart.

My dad was a Lion and so he supported the event, and actually when I was a little girl I thought he was doing it for me, because I loved it so much.

Other activities included the fish boil, lots of strawberry shortcake, special hours for the Chassell Heritage Center, and an exhibit from the Friends of Fashion.

UPDATE: Parade results, courtesy of George Stockero.

Commercial: 1st Houghton County Fair
2nd Schaffer Trucking

Patriotic: 1st Northwoods Sporting Goods
2nd Houghton Democratic Party

Humorous: 1st Sounds & Motion
2nd Gartner’s (Joey)

Strawberry: 1st Young Anglers Fishing
2nd Keweenaw Roller Derby

Antique: 1st John Ritola – 1967 Mercedes Benz
2nd Michael Karvonen – 1962 Fury

Equestrian: 1st Tori Grima
2nd Chuck Johnson

Music: 1st The Copper County Clown Band
2nd Chassell Township Schools

BEST IN SHOW: HOUGHTON COUNTY FAIR

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