The Sheldon Theatre was sold out for the 2019 Red Wing Royal Ambassador crowning.
After the 10 candidates and the 2018 royalty arrived at the historic theater's front doors via convertibles (and one Jeep), the festivities commenced.
With the theme "There's no place like home," the outgoing royals and the candidates performed excerpts from "The Wizard of Oz" with the help of the Lullaby League, Lollipop Guild, Glenda and more. Candidates played the Munchkins, in rainbow leggings and tutus, and the Ozians, wearing funky green costumes. Candidate Amelia Reinitz won best costume honors.
Two new awards were introduced Sunday. The first was the Kodakciyapi Award. "Kodakciyapi" means "friendship" in the Dakota language, according to Tori Campbell, a member of the Prairie Island Indian Community and Red Wing Royal Ambassador Committee. Instead of crowning a traditional miss congeniality, the committee decided to present this friendship award sponsored by the Prairie Island Indian Community.
"We want our candidates and ambassadors to focus on volunteerism, kindness and helping bridge communities together," Campbell explained
Courtney Colwell received the award after her fellow candidates voted for her.
The other new honor was the Red Wing Republican Eagle Volunteer Platform Award. For many years each candidate has written an essay about her volunteer platform. This year the judges forwarded the top three essays to the Republican Eagle staff, who chose Morgan Fritz's Habitat for Humanity platform essay as the 2019 winner. (Read it on page A5.)
In addition, the Minneapolis Aquatennial presented a honorary commodore award to the family of Kiley Reich-Winberg. A past Red Wing royal and a Cannon Falls elementary school teacher who died of cancer, lived the motto "You matter."
More than two hours after the event began, it was time to crown the 2019 royalty. Delaynee Fox, Hannah Rodgers and Morgan Fritz were crowned by the outgoing ambassadors, Hannah Coyle, Megan Jeranek and Kendal Swanson.
As the curtains closed on the 2019 candidates (literally and figuratively) the women gathered on center stage for a group hug where laughs, tears and warm embraces were shared.