ST. MARYS — Seven girls took to the stage on Sunday night, vying for the title of 2012 SummerFest Queen — in the end Brooke Hertenstein walked away with the crown and sash in front of a packed crowd at Memorial High School.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Hertenstein told The Evening Leader moments after being crowned. “I was not expecting it at all because I know all the girls did a pretty good job and I know it was really close.”
Hertenstein, the daughter of Scott and the late Nancy Hertenstein, is an incoming senior at Memorial High School. Hertenstein said as the list of other finalists was rattled off, the nerves built inside of her until her name was called.
“I was kind of excited because they didn’t call me,” Hertenstein said. “Then I was kind of freaking out thinking I didn’t get anything. It was conflicted feelings.”
As her name was called, Hertenstein said the moment caught up to her. Once she processed the fact she won the crown, Hertenstein said she got “really excited.”
“My mind went completely blank,” Hertenstein said. “I am excited about the parades because they look really fun.”
The contest was broken up into six categories — essay, introduction, casual wear, personal interview, on stage interview and evening gown. Each category had a maximum point value assigned to it with contestants rated on a scale of up to 450 points.
“The on stage interview with the question was the most nerve-racking,” Hertenstein said.
“I was worried about what question I would get the whole time, and I didn’t want to stand there forever. The easiest part was the casual walk because it was just fun.”
Rachel Geeslin, a 2012 Memorial High School graduate and daughter of Steve and Lisa Stroh and Jim Geeslin, took home second runner-up, and Haley Hicks, a 2012 Memorial High School graduate and daughter of Jason and Sandy Slone, took home first runner-up to round out the royal court.
Hicks also won best interview and Hertenstein took home the title of Miss Congeniality.
“My favorite part of the entire experience is the friendships I’ve made,” Hertenstein said. “I knew all the other girls I competed with but we became a lot closer and are all friends now.”
Hertenstein took home the title of 2002 Little Miss SummerFest. St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kelly Kill said it was the first time a Little Miss winner took home the crown in the queen contest.
The three girls will now be a fixture during the SummerFest festivities, including the opening ceremony on Thursday night.
The royal court also will be featured in the SummerFest parade, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The event also featured several dance numbers by members of Kristina’s Dance Escape as well as a song performed by Drew Houser on the piano. Brooke Slife, the 2011 SummerFest Queen, presented a slide show highlighting her year as queen.
The festivities continue as the Little Miss SummerFest contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the PAC in Memorial High School. Tickets are available at the chamber of commerce office.