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Miss La Crescent 2017 Natalie Elsen thanks the crowd as newly crowned princesses Emma Booth and Paige Jansen look on at the Miss Applefest Coronation 2017.

Alex Graaff PHOTOS, Houston County News

In the spirit of Applefest, residents took to La Crescent-Hokah High School to celebrate those in the community that have dedicated themselves to making the apple capital into something more.

As the Applefest Board celebrated the Miss La Crescent Coronation on Saturday night, Man of the Year and Woman of the Year were also named.

“I think it’s great that we are able to recognize community members,” Applefest Director Verissa Jonsgaard said. “They work hard and we want to recognize each one.”

Natalie Elsen was crowned Miss La Crescent 2017. Emma Booth was crowned first princess and Paige Jansen was crowned second princess. Kaitlyn Kimball was crowned Spirit of the Fest.

Last year’s Miss La Crescent, Lexie Rosendahl, and the 2016 princesses, Becca Covey and Morgan Cardosi, said goodbye to their crowns at the ceremony.

“I just want to thank Becca for always making me laugh and Lexie for always being kind,” Cardosi said. “To the incoming royalty, you will have a blast if you let it happen and for those who are not crowned, you will always be a princess, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Favorite memories among the outgoing princesses include a 12-hour bus trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba, chasing after a float and representing La Crescent in other communities.

“It’s been an exciting year,” Rosendahl said. “It was a last-minute decision to run. My boss told me to. She said it would be a great opportunity to meet people.”

After Elsen was crowned, emcee Jeff Copp asked the new royal how she could help create world peace as Miss La Crescent.

“We are going to come together and celebrate Applefest,” Elsen said.

Also recognized, although without a crown, was Man of the Year Gary Beardmore and Woman of the Year Ruth Berns.

“I had no idea. It was a total surprise,” Berns said. “I’m really honored. It’s kind of amazing that people notice the little things that you do. I really do little things. I’m very humbled.”

Jonsgaard said Berns work in spousal bereavement support at Church of the Crucifixion was one reason she was recognized.

Beardmore is a financial consultant for Merchant’s Bank.

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