Carnival royalty crowned

Josie Edick’s artistic effort seals victory

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Winter Carnival Royal Majesty Josie Edick paints the Portage Lake Lift Bridge with paints made from foods during Saturday’s Royalty Coronation at the Rozsa Center.

HOUGHTON — Using her chemistry know-how, Josie Edick turned blueberries, baking soda and tea into paints. Then she converted that into the title of Winter Carnival Royal Majesty.

Edick was crowned at the end of Michigan Technological University’s annual competition, held Saturday at the Rozsa Center.

“It feels like a dream,” Edick said. “It’s so crazy. I’m just really grateful. This is awesome. I love Michigan Tech and I feel so honored to be chosen to be in this position.”

Lilly Bolliger and Emily Calhoun were first and second runners-up, respectively. Bolliger won the Audience Choice vote. Lila Johnson won the Congeniality award.

Contestants each prepared a performance related to the year’s Winter Carnival theme, “Tasty Foods for Wintry Moods.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Emily Calhoun, second runner-up for Winter Carnival Royal Majesty, decorates a cake with the old Michigan Technological University logo during Saturday’s Royalty Coronation.

Edick displayed two talents at once. She painted a picture of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge while singing a Keweenaw-centric version of DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean.”

And that was only her backup plan. Her first idea, cooking ramen using a chemical reaction, didn’t work when she tried it over winter break.

With her parents and friends from back home, Edick brainstormed a replacement. She wanted to sing or dance. “Cake by the Ocean” was the only food-related song she could and wanted to sing.

But merely singing wasn’t enough, Edick decided. A friend supplied the missing ingredient.

“One of my friends from back home was like ‘Can you paint? I know you can make paints out of food. Maybe you could do something like that,'” she said. “And that was when everything came together.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lilly Bolliger, first runner-up for Winter Carnival Royal Majesty, performs a poem about the historical contributions of the wives of miners in the 1913 strike during Saturday’s Royalty Coronation.

Or started to at least.

Edick worked for weeks on the paints, which turned out differently every time. The acidity of the blueberries affected things, so she would change the color by adding a strong base like baking soda.

She eventually harnessed the volatility to her advantage. Blueberries mixed with baking soda created dark blue hues. The green came from older blueberry paint, which turns color as it ages. For light blue, she mixed blueberries with water.

“I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out, but luckily it all came together,” she said.

The Royalty candidates showcased numerous talents. Emma Quinn rapped, and cooked, “Green Eggs and Ham.” Her sister Hannah Quinn played, then sampled, instruments made of vegetables.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lila Johnson, Congeniality winner in the Winter Carnival Royalty Competition, performs a stand-up routine during Saturday’s Royalty Coronation.

Others included dancing, stand-up comedy and cake decoration with the Michigan Tech logo. Sara Gelon, as psychologist and chef, explained how a delicious meal can increase the levels of beneficial neurotransmitters.

The beef in a pasty boosts levels of dopamine, linked to attentiveness, and norepinephrine, which stimulates the production of adrenaline. The latter would come in handy in a hypothetical encounter with a bear on the Tech Trails — represented Saturday by Otis, a giant cardboard cutout.

“Most likely, your heart would go pounding out of your chest,” Gelon said. “And if it does, that’s the result of norepinephrine.”

Bolliger performed her original poem, “Miners’ Wives,” about how history had erased the contributions of the wives of the striking miners of 1913.

“1913: a year in our history that we typically remember for the men that fought in the Keweenaw copper strike,” she said after the poem. “But it was women, it was miners’ wives and female leaders like Annie Clemenc that led that strike, and they’re the reason it happened. It’s too bad we remember them more for their pasty and nisu bread recipes. I wrote my poem because we are failing to recognize that women of our history are being forgotten.”

Winter Carnival Royalty candidate Emma Quinn raps Dr. Seuss prose while giving a cooking demonstration in “Green Eggs and Going Ham” during Saturday’s Royalty Coronation.

In addition to interviews with the judges, contestants also took questions — one light, one serious — in front of the Rozsa audience Saturday night.

Some questions were tailored to the candidates’ individual interests. Johnson, who plans to pursue a career in sports analytics, was asked for her favorite statistic. She chose a LeBron James scoring stat: He’s the only player ever to score 30 points in a game against every NBA team.

In pre-recorded segments played before their Q&As, they also answered another question, “What about the MTU Community has impacted you the most and how have you contributed to it?”

Calhoun credited the community’s drive for success.

“This is something that’s really great to me because I feel like we’re all working towards different things in our lives, but in the end we’re becoming better people and working to make the world a better place in our own way,” she said.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Royalty contestant Sara Gelon performs “Sara’s Scrumptious Sources of Serotonin,” a cooking demonstration melding brain chemistry, Yooper cuisine and a cardboard bear.

Edick, a fifth-year chemical engineering major, will be graduating this spring. She plans to stay in Michigan after she graduates. For her last Winter Carnival, she’s attending as many events as she can.

“I really want to enjoy it, especially now that I was chosen as the Majesty,” she said. “I have to go to everything now, and I’m really happy to do that.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Royalty contestant Hannah Quinn, dressed in a banana suit and gold chain, demonstrates how to make instruments out of vegetables.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Royalty contestant Madi Owens answers a question from the judges.


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