Maranda Braulick to participate in the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Program

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

The Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization (AAO) recently announced that Maranda Braulick will represent the community of Sleepy Eye in the AAO Candidate Program from July 19 through July 24. Of course, here in Sleepy Eye we already knew that.

Maranda Braulick, Miss Sleepy Eye 2020, will be representing Sleepy Eye this month in the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador  Organization candidate program.

Braulick, Miss Sleepy Eye 2020, is part of a long tradition of Miss Sleepy Eye queens who have traveled to Minneapolis to take part in the Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes competition. Kelly Blick of the Miss Sleepy Eye committee said they believe this connection between Sleepy Eye and Minneapolis dates back to the 1950s. 

Braulick and her princesses, Jaclyn Nessett and Asha Schmid, were crowned just days before COVID-19 shut everything down in March 2020. The coronation program was one of the last public events held in Sleepy Eye that spring and summer. Despite pandemic restrictions, the three Sleepy Eye Ambassadors found ways to represent the community of Sleepy Eye.

"My favorite memories from serving as Miss Sleepy Eye would probably be the play dates in the parks that we came up with," said Braulick. "It was something unique we decided to do since we didn’t get to do everything past royalty had done because of COVID-19. With the story walk, scavenger hunt, dance and bubble play dates it brought smiles to everyone's face! That is one of the best feelings about being a part of an ambassador organization—that you are making memories that will be remembered

for a long time!"

Braulick said the play dates gave not only the daycares and families but also community members something exciting to look forward to. She said this event is one the Miss Sleepy Eye organization has decided royalties will look forward to hosting and being a part of for years to come.

"My favorite memories aren’t only spending time with the little ones," Braulick said. "I also would not have had as much fun without Jackie and Asha as my princesses! Even though the three of us all went to the same school, we built such a stronger bond that will always be between us. We made so many memories that I will be telling for generations to come—from baking cookies to going on lunch dates, having parades but getting either rained or hailed on, and being in the freezing cold. All of us still had the time of our lives and made the best out of our year we had together."

This past year Braulick attended Alexandria Technical & Community College majoring in Communication Art & Design. Braulick had a great freshman year in college with several accomplishments. She was on the Dean’s list both semesters, was selected as one of two freshmen to join the sophomores in a portfolio review, and also won a Gold AdFed award for a geometric loon stamp she designed in Adobe InDesign. Braulick was also selected to be a part of the Art Guild serving as the Vice President. (All those years being active in FFA prepared her well!)

"When I didn’t have any homework or duties with the guild, I stayed busy working at Bath and Body Works," Braulick said.

3. What Aquatennial events are you most looking forward to?

Braulick said when she gets to the Aquatennial she is most looking forward to the Meet the Candidates event.

"It is such a good event to learn more about both the candidates and their communities!" she said. "My Meet the Candidates costume is going to show our new festival, End Of Summer Celebration! I designed my own graphic and will be using some printable iron-on transfer paper to put on a shirt. Therefore I’ll be talking about my future career and our community celebration!

"Another part I am very excited for is the coronation," Braulick said. "Even though we didn’t get to see Callie Bohnen [Miss Sleepy Eye 2019] on the stage in person last year, photos and videos from past years show how stunning all the white gowns and the crowning come down to be. You can tell by all of the girl’s faces that when the royalty are crowned that they all built lifelong friendships with each other by only being there less than a week! I’m so excited to be a part of the Best Days of Summer!"

According to the Aquatennial Ambassador organization, this year 44 candidates will be participating in the program with one young woman chosen to be the Queen of the Lakes, and two women chosen as Princesses. The selection team considers a variety of criteria including: professionalism, public speaking ability, current and future goals, education and co-curricular/extracurricular activities. In addition to the interview process, the candidates also participate in leadership and personal development, and other unique experiences. These experiences include visiting Minneapolis hallmarks like The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis.

Community members are invited to cheer on their community representative at the traditional Meet the Candidates event on Thursday, July 22 at McNamara Alumni Center from 9 to 11:45 a.m. The week culminates with the Coronation of the 2022 Aquatennial Ambassadors at Hopkins Center for the Arts on Saturday, July 24 at 2 p.m. with a reception one hour prior. Tickets for both the Meet the Candidates event and Coronation are available to the public through the Aquatennial Ambassador website. 

Community members are encouraged to send well wishes to their candidate at the Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis University Area, 511 SE Huron Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (indicate they are an AAO Candidate). 

The 2021 Ambassador Team includes: Queen of the Lakes Elise Toussaint from the community of North Branch; Commodore Stephen Zins; Aquatennial Princess Erin Westlund from the community of Hutchinson; Captain Kassi Kruse; Aquatennial Princess Amber Watkins from the community of Anoka; Captain Terri Kane.

The Aquatennial Ambassador Organization (AAO) has been a pioneering organization in building partnerships and relationships with the Minneapolis Aquatennial, City of Minneapolis and local communities throughout Minnesota since 1940. Our Ambassadors serve as positive role models by making over 250 public appearances every year. For more information please visit www.aquatennialambassadors.com.