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As in-person Tulip Fest returns, Albany names Tulip Queen finalists

Albany's signature spring event is returning for its 74th year after going virtual for two years during the pandemic.

One of the most popular annual events attracts tens of thousands of people to Washington Park each year. This year, the Albany Tulip Festival will take place over Mother's Day weekend on May 7th and 8th with all traditions, events, and activities returning to in-person status.

Thursday afternoon Mayor Kathy Sheehan introduced the 2022 Tulip Queen finalists:

20-year old-Ashley Mayfield is from Troy, a junior music industry major at The College of Saint Rose.

24-year old Sam Mills is a Saint Rose alumna who graduated with a BFA in Studio Art. She's a stand-up comedian who has become part of the social fabric in Center Square as a bartender.

18-year-old Sakthi Muthukrishnan of Latham is a first-year undergraduate student at the University at Albany where she is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology.

22-year-old Kathleen Nielsen is graduating from Russell Sage College, where she majors in psychology with a minor in sociology.


22-year-old Meghan O’Neil of Albany is finishing up her first year of grad school at The College of Saint Rose, studying communication sciences and disorders on a pathway to becoming a speech-language pathologist.

2021 Tulip Queen Ashanti' Bishop of Latham says she and her court had a tremendous run.

“While the year of 2021 was quite challenging, we are optimistic that the year of 2022 will lead to great opportunities for the incoming court, as well as reconnections with the community," said Bishop. "As we celebrate the 74th annual tulip celebration, we hope that our community is here to support us.”

Sheehan says the Queen and court serve to promote literacy and educational projects and embody what it means to be involved in the community and to perform community service.

“We actually have two outgoing courts that haven't had a proper ball and a new court that we will be welcoming in," Sheehan said. "Tickets are still available, we really encourage you to support the event. All of the funding for the event goes to the Capital City Fund, which helps to provide funding for our Veterans Day parade, our Memorial Day Parade, the purchase of flags to place at our cemeteries on Memorial Day and so it all goes to a great cause. And I think that the young women really deserve to have a full room of appreciation for the hard work that they've done.”

The finalists were chosen by a committee of local leaders through an extensive interview process. Nominees must reside in Albany County for their entire year of reign, have a strong sense of community, be knowledgeable of the Albany area and its history, and have leadership skills.

Tulip Fest begins on State Street Friday, May 6th with the traditional Dutch street scrubbing. Mayor Sheehan will lead a procession from City Hall and read the official Tulip Festival proclamation kicking off the weekend festivities, including the coronation of the Tulip Queen in Washington Park.

"We have an incredibly packed weekend planned, I know that we are all so happy to be here live and in person," Sheehan said. "We're looking forward to all of these events... One of these finalists will be crowned Albany tulip Queen at noon on Saturday, May 7, you can keep track of the progress of this court, that this Court will be making at albanyevents.org."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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