Final preparations are under way as the city of Albany awaits next weekend’s Tulip Festival. Mayor Kathy Sheehan introduced the five finalists for 2019 Albany Tulip Queen Wednesday at the Washington Park Lakehouse.
"Since its inception at the first Tulip Festival in 1949, the Tulip Queen and court has evolved into a traditional, from a traditional pageantry, into a community service program that enriches thousands of lives in the Capital Region. While the Albany Tulip Queen coronation ceremony retains the grandeur of decades of local history, the Tulip Queen and court program has become a far-reaching initiative dedicated to promoting literacy and educational projects," said Sheehan.
Chosen by a committee of local leaders based on their community service backgrounds and leadership skills, the finalists took turns addressing the gathering.
22-year old Emily Barcia-Varno of Glemont: "The 71st Annual Tulip Festival begins on State Street on Friday, May 10th 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."
- Emily is a recent graduate from The College of Saint Rose completing a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. She currently works in the New York State Department of Civil Service. She has volunteered through Saint Rose, worked with local soup kitchens, Ronald McDonald House, and worked in Panama helping to preserve Native Orchids. Her hobbies include working with kids, dance, theatre and traveling. As a member of the 2019 Tulip Court, Emily hopes to be a role model for the community and use superheroes as a way to connect kids to their inner super powers.
19-year old Isabella Burnett of Albany: "Saturday brings the event we are all waiting for. The coronation of the 71st Albany Tulip Queen. This traditional ceremony kicks off at 11:30 a.m. at the Washington Park Lakehouse stage with a performance by acclaimed local choral group The Mendelsohn Club."
- Isabella is currently a Sophomore at the College of Saint Rose earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. She currently works at Follett Bookstore and in the summer as a Girl Scout Camp Counselor. Isabella volunteers her time at the senior living community Holiday at the Atrium and as a street cleaner through the College of Saint Rose. She enjoys camping, hiking and boating. As a member of the 2019 Tulip Court, she plans to promote literacy using her focus on art to help connect communities and to work for better environmental health in our community.
19-year old Parneet Kaur of Green Island: "Mother's day weekend in Washington Park brings a wealth of free entertainment and fun. Shop at the nationally-renowned Tulip Festival Craft Show, featuring 100 vendors from around the country, selling a variety of handmade goods."
- Parneet is a Freshman at Siena College working towards her Biology Degree. During High School she was the recipient of the Multicultural Student Achievement Award from the University at Albany. She volunteers with Regional Food Pantry and Ronald McDonald House. Parneet has a passion for dance and music and her goal is to open up a dermatology office. As a member of the 2019 Tulip Court, her goals are to promote diversity through the sharing of multicultural art and to help build confidence and independence for younger women in the City.
23-year old Megan Morrill of Latham: "Saturday has more to see... Saturday evening hosts the elegant tradition of the Royal Tulip Ball at 60 State."
- Megan is a Graduate of the University at Albany and is currently working towards publishing her first novel. Her volunteer experience ranges from the Ronald McDonald House to the March of Dimes, and she was a Key Club Committee Chair for Albany Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital. She enjoys photography, ice skating, rock climbing and writing. She was a three time winner in the Colonie Art League for photography and was a member of the Tau Sigma Honor’s Society. As a member of the 2019 Tulip Court, Megan’s goal is to raise awareness for craniofacial conditions and to help provide children in local hospitals a broader selection of books.
18-year old Michaela Schramm of Loudonville: "Sunday at Tulip Festival is a Capital District Mother's Day Tradition, featuring the 21st Annual 'Mother of the year' award."
- Michaela is a freshman attending the University at Albany working on her Accounting degree. At UAlbany Michaela plays club field hockey and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Pi. She has volunteered at the Center for Disability Services, Regional Food Bank, worked as a tutor and as a coach. In her free time Michaela enjoys spending her summers lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons at a local pool, crafts, hiking, and spending time with her family. As a member of the 2019 Tulip Court, Michaela plans to use her math talents to help connect reading and math as well as to explore different cultures through the literacy program.
Outgoing Tulip Queen Sawyer Cresap brought up Albany’s sister city in the Netherlands: "This is an institution in the city and it's all because of Albany's sister-city Nijmegen. I have so much more of an appreciation for the history behind the Tulip Festival, but also so much more confidence in myself that I can participate in my community in a meaningful way."
Albany City Gardener Jessica Morgan says we're on point to have one of the best blooming tulip years ever... "Mother Nature has kept the temperatures nice and cool, which I know everybody doesn't appreciate, but the tulips certainly do. And I think we're gonna have a spectacular festival. Currently in the park we're blooming at about 30 to 40 percent, so I'm thinking by next weekend we should hit, you know, max bloom."
The Tulip Festival will be held May 11 & 12 in Washington Park.