The eleven Bar-B-Q Days Royalty candidates gathered with their parents, sponsors, grand marshals, and judges for an evening of celebration at the Next Chapter Winery in New Prague on Sunday, July 11, exactly one week ahead of the official coronation ceremony.
On Sunday, July 18, four candidates will be crowned with positions on the court, including Miss Belle Plaine, First Princess, Second Princess, and Miss Congeniality.
Each of the candidates sat down with the Belle Plaine Herald to talk about why she wants to run, her favorite Bar-B-Q Days memories, and what she is hoping to get out of the experience.
The Queen Coronation will take place on Sunday in the Belle Plaine High School South Gym at 4 p.m.
Admission will be free for those who have a 2021 Bar-B-Q Days Royalty Button.
Those who do not have a button will need to pay five dollars to enter.
At first, Emma Driehorst didn’t know if she should run for Miss Belle Plaine, since she grew up in Fairmont, Minnesota and didn’t move to town until seventh grade.
“I’m not originally from here, so I thought maybe I shouldn’t go because I’m not native to Belle Plaine,” she said.
After thinking it over, she realized it was a great opportunity to represent the community and get to know other girls in her grade.
“I just want people to know that I enjoy the community of Belle Plaine and I want to see more people out and about in the community, younger generations and older generations coming together,” she said.
Her favorite thing about Bar-B-Q Days is the fireworks.
At school she is involved in tennis, dance, track, and the Minnesota Honor Society.
She also volunteers at HCMC. Her parents are Mindi Driehorst and Andy Fobear.
Ever since she was a kid, Emily Nagel has imagined being part of the Belle Plaine Royalty and sitting on the float with the rest of the court.
“It was just something cool to see, all the princesses sitting on the float. We knew some of them just as family or friends. It was just something that I always wanted to do,” she said.
She always looked forward to the rides during the celebrations, especially the big slide and the octopus.
Nagel participates in student council and plays tennis and golf.
Her parents are Wayne Nagel and Keri Dell.
Elissa Moonen has wanted to run for Belle Plaine Bar-B-Q Days Royalty since she was in sixth grade, when the queen at the time came to read to the Oak Crest Elementary School students.
“I remember looking at the big, shiny crown on her head and thinking, ‘I want that to be me one day,’” she said. “I’m excited to see what happens next week.”
One of her favorite Bar-B-Q Days memories is throwing out candy while walking in the parade with her girl scout troop.
She has been involved in band, track and field, tennis, pep band, and yearbook. She is also involved in the American Legion and Vets Club and is working towards her Girl Scout Gold Award.
In addition, she is a lifeguard at the Belle Plaine Aquatic Center this summer. Her parents are Tim and Molly Moonen.
Bailey Kerkow was crowned the German Days Queen earlier this summer.
“I think it’s a good leadership opportunity and there are a lot more girls to talk to and get to know. It brings up the level of competitiveness,” she said.
She said she’s enjoyed all of the activities that allow the contestants to get to know each other.
Her favorite thing about Bar-B-Q Days is the rides and recognizing all of her friends during the celebration.
Kerkow is president of the Helena Helpers 4-H Club.
She plays piano and participates in MHS, student council, and softball.
She also manages the girls’ basketball team.
Her parents are Sam and Rachelle Kerkow.
Lauren Miller always looked up to the girls before her who were part of the Bar-B-Q Days Royalty.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be a princess. It’s how I imagined it when I would watch movies or even watched them get crowned at Bar-B-Q Days,” she said.
While growing up, she looked forward to going on rides with her friends during the celebration.
At school she is involved in dance and volleyball.
Her parents are Paul and Sherry Miller.
Faith Bohlman decided to run for Miss Belle Plaine as an opportunity to make more connections in the community and experience new situations.
She said her family made the most of the Bar-B-Q Days celebration by inviting friends and family from out of town.
She always looks forward to the parade and the fireworks.
“I like how we are able to come together as a community,” she said.
Bohlman is involved in visual arts. Her parents are Tamara and Dustin Bohlman.
Elliana Fahey was crowned Miss Shamrock this March and is excited to have another opportunity to represent Belle Plaine.
“[For Miss Shamrock] I was asked a lot of cultural questions about where my family was from and our heritage. For this, it’s more of them getting to know me from the activities I’m in and what I’m doing in the community,” she said.
Fahey is involved in choir, theater, speech, and tennis.
She also is involved in her church choir and received her bronze and silver awards in girl scouts.
Her favorite Bar-B-Q Days memories include going on the mini-motorcycle ride and watching fireworks with her family.
Her parents are Chris and Sara Fahey.
Madison Morgan decided to run for Miss Belle Plaine after Brynne Meyer, Miss Congeniality 2020, told Morgan she would be a great fit for the program.
“She actually reached out to me and said that I should run, because we are in a public speaking class together,” she said. “She said that it sounded like something I would like to do, talk, meet new people, and give speeches in front of big groups.”
Morgan grew up attending Bar-B-Q Days every year with her family and always looked forward to the lemonade.
In school she participates in choir, student council, and volunteering.
Her parents are Loretta and Matthew Morgan.
Lindsey Czarnecki said the current Miss Belle Plaine, Kadence Bran de Leon, encouraged her to run in the royalty contest.
“It’s been so fun; it’s been a great experience getting to know the girls on the court, especially leading into senior year,” she said.
Czarnecki has fond memories of the summer celebration, including going on rides and seeing her friends.
She is involved in the school speech team and the community ed softball league.
She used to be part of cross country and track but had to quit due to a foot injury.
Her parents are Ann Vensland, David Vensland, and Peter Czarnecki.
Carly Williams plans to be a teacher one day, and she thought running for Miss Belle Plaine would be an opportunity to practice her public speaking skills and develop more confidence.
“It was one of those things where I got a little bit of personal growth out of it,” she said. “I also got to show that I do really love Belle Plaine.”
She said she looks forward to going on rides and getting a strawberry shake from the boy scouts’ stand during the festival.
When she’s not in school, Williams works at Kids Company Child Care in Belle Plaine.
“It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done,” she said.
August will mark her one-year anniversary with the organization.
Her parents are Tom and Jennifer Williams.
Kaylee Shackle has wanted to be part of the Belle Plaine Royalty since seventh grade.
“I always just thought it would be fun to get a new experience and meet new people,” she said.
She always looks forward to seeing old friends at the Bar-B-Q Days celebration and getting together with people she missed hanging out with throughout the summer.
At school she is involved in the dance team and choir.
Her parents are Pam and Troy Shackle.