Courtney Schneider, daughter of Amy Wendinger and Kevin Schneider of Sleepy Eye, will be among 50 candidates vying for the title of Queen of the Lakes at the Minneapolis Aquatennial festivities July 14-20.
The Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program begins July 14 and culminates with coronation of the Queen of the Lakes and two Aquatennial princesses on July 19 at the Ted Mann Concert Hall at the U of M campus beginning at 7 p.m.
Each year the Queen of the Lakes and two Aquatennial Princesses are chosen to represent the festival and city of Minneapolis all over the state, nation and world. Fifty young women representing communities throughout the state of Minnesota participate in this event.
The candidates are chosen from a pool of ambassadors who have previously represented their communities. Courtney represented Sleepy Eye when she was crowned Miss Sleepy Eye in 2012.
"I'm so excited, I can't wait!" Courtney said of the event. "Anna (Surprenant, 2012 Aquatennial Princess) has been a big help."
Courtney and Anna were not only friends in high school, but both crowned Miss Sleepy Eye in respective years and now attend Southwest Minnesota State, Marshall majoring in similar fields of study.
Courtney added that she has been watching Anna in her role as Aquatennial Princess throughout this past year and has learned a wealth of information to take with her during candidate week.
Courtney and 49 other young women will participate in the Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program, a week-long candidate program that includes multiple judging sessions, alumni events and activities sponsored by metro area businesses.
At an orientation event held in May, candidates met briefly to get to know each other and hear from past Aquatennial ambassadors about what to expect during the week-long festivities leading up to the coronation on Friday.
"The orientation did a good job of filling me in on what is expected during the week and calming nerves," Courtney explained. "It was also nice to meet some of the other candidates I'll be spending a week with soon."
During her preparation for this event, Courtney said one of the things she has spent a great deal of time preparing for is the Meet the Candidates event in which each candidate is required to wear something that either represents their character or the town from which they are representing.
Since going off to college last fall, Courtney said nearly everyone that she meets asks if people in Sleepy Eye are tired. For her Meet the Candidate event Courtney has decided to wear sleepware and discuss all the ways Sleepy Eye is a hard working, very much awake and alive town.
As an ambassador for Sleepy Eye, Courtney said that her favorite event has always been Buttered Corn Days, because it is a time when the community comes together to celebrate and enjoy the day, she added.
Page 2 of 2 - "I have heard people all over talk about Sleepy Eye Buttered Corn Days," Courtney said. "It's our claim to fame!'
Courtney finished her freshman year at Southwest Minnesota State University this past spring where she is studying marketing.
Courtney added that she is greatful to the community of Sleepy Eye for providing the opportunity to attend Aquatennial events.
"There are communities waiting on a list to be part of this tradition," Courtney said. "We are so fortunate to be able to participate in this event."