In her last official “Miss Sleepy Eye” duty, Bethany Berkner, Miss Sleepy Eye 2014, is competing for the title of Queen of the Lakes at the Minneapolis Aquatennial this week.

In her last official “Miss Sleepy Eye” duty, Bethany Berkner, Miss Sleepy Eye 2014, is competing for the title of Queen of the Lakes at the Minneapolis Aquatennial this week. Bethany has a little extra insight into what her time at the Aquatennial will be like, as two of her cousins are members of the Aquatennial Ambassador alumni.

Bethany’s cousin, Laura (Spaeth) Fischer, was Miss Sleepy Eye in 1998 and was chosen as an Aquatennial Princess in 1999. A few years later, Amanda (Spaeth) Murphy - Laura’s sister - was crowned Miss Sleepy Eye 2004. She also impressed the judges at the Aquatennial and earned the title of Princess in 2005.

Not every candidate gets royal advice from family members, but Bethany appreciates it, saying, “I am also incredibly thankful to the past Aquatennial Princesses from Sleepy Eye, for helping me prepare for The Best Days of Summer at the Minneapolis Aquatennial.

Bethany, the daughter of Pat and Patty Berkner, is home this summer, working at Divine Providence Community Home as a certified nursing assistant and at the swimming pool. She just completed her first year at Bemidji State University, in the pre-nursing program. “I’ll be applying to the nursing program later this summer,” she said. In Bemidji she also worked at the college Rec Center.

Bethany said she is looking forward to getting to know the other candidates at the Aquatennial. “We had an orientation already, and I found out that three other candidates will be at Bemidji next fall.”

According to the Aquatennial Ambassador Organization during her stay in Minneapolis some of the activities Bethany will experience include private parties, a ride in the Aquatennial Torchlight Parade, boat rides, and private viewing of the legendary Target Fireworks.

At the “Meet the Candidates” event at the City Center on Wednesday, Bethany and the other candidates dressed in costumes that reflect their personality or community.

Bethany said she would be wearing “Dorothy” slippers, a blue and white shirt and white pants, and play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on her violin.

“It will reflect my love of music and that I had the part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in high school at St. Mary’s, and also tie in with our community’s support of music,” said Bethany.

The judging panel bases their ambassador selection in several areas including poise, communication skills, accomplishments and personality.

Bethany enjoyed her reign as Miss Sleepy Eye and was glad for the opportunities to promote our City of Sleepy Eye and be a positive role model. She said she is excited to represent Sleepy Eye at the Aquatennial, and would be proud to be chosen as the Queen or a Princess. “My Grandma Spaeth would be so happy!”

Bethany is spending some busy days this week, capped by the 76th Anniversary Queen of the Lakes Coronation that will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus.

Before she left Sleepy Eye, Bethany had one more important message, “I want to say thank you to the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sleepy Eye for the scholarship I received, and for making it possible for me to go to the Aquatennial.”