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On with the show: Strawberry Queens Coronation still being held

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lily Ashburn is crowned Copper Country Strawberry Queen during the 2019 Strawberry Festival. This year’s coronation will go on despite the cancellation of the festival.

CHASSELL — Although this year’s Copper Country Strawberry Festival was canceled, one part of it will go on.

The annual Queens Coronation will still take place at the Centennial Park pavilion 7 p.m. Friday in Chassell.

There will be a limited live audience. It will also be livestreamed at facebook.com/CopperCountryStrawberryQueen.

Preparations began in March, back when the Lions Club was still planning on having the festival said organizer Lara Neves. When the festival was canceled, they decided to continue with the coronation anyway.

“We think it’s important for the girls,” Neves said. “We didn’t want to disappoint them.”

With the festival canceled, the customary strawberry auction during the coronation will not happen this year, Neves said.

With no festival to provide the coronation’s usual budget, an anonymous donor stepped in to cover expenses, Neves said.

“They really wanted to continue the tradition of giving a scholarship and naming a queen,” she said. “The concerns were just how do we do this and maintain all the social distancing rules.”

To minimize COVID risks, the interviews with judges were done Tuesday over Zoom. Friday’s live audience is being kept to 100 people. Each of the 12 candidates is allowed to bring five audience members.

Every person who attends must also sign a liability waiver, Neves said.

“We won’t be letting anybody in without that,” she said.

Seating will be arranged so that families can sit together in groups while keeping distanced from others. Unlike most years, judges will not be sitting at the same table. Neves was still figuring out a way to have all the candidates onstage.

“We’re going to do our best to really make it work,” she said.

This year’s candidates are Breanna Datto, Kate Desrochers, Sierrah Driscoll, Carly Goddard, Giavanna Guidotti, Libby Kyro, Maria Lorenzetti, McKenna McKay, Alia Palosaari, Annika Seigel, Cali St. George and Aubrey Swain.

Judges are Matt Jennings, M.C. Friedrich and Kate van Susante.

Editor’s note: For more information on the queen candidates, check out our Entertainment section on pages 7-8A.

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