Who will be the next Miss Garlic Queen?


Eight made the cut. One will win the crown. Meet your 2012 Gilroy Garlic Queen contestants – in no particular order.

Each year to coincide with Gilroy’s famous Garlic Festival (this summer will be the 34th), the Garlic Festival Association touts a Garlic Queen scholarship and contest for young local women.

This year, they will award $10,000 for first place, as they did for the first time in 2011 to Garlic Queen Tiffani Petersen. The donation is on behalf of Christopher Ranch.

The Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant is a scholarship-driven competition that judges contestants on a personal interview, speech, talent and evening gown.

In addition to the honorary titles of queen, first and second runner-up, a number of scholarships will also be awarded to pageant contestants.

Applicants must be a resident of Gilroy, San Martin, Morgan Hill, Hollister, San Juan Bautista or Aromas; a single female who has never been married and has no children; a high school graduate by June 2012; and between the ages of 18 and 24 by July 2012.

Also new this year is the way the women are judged: Interview was reduced from 40 percent of the score to 30 percent because a new category worth 10 percent called “Rehearsal Participation,” which is based on their attendance/punctuality, attitude, sportsmanship and preparation in the two months of rehearsal leading up to the pageant.

The Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Pageant is scheduled for 4 p.m. March 31 at the Gavilan College Theater, located at 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. in Gilroy. You can purchase tickets for $10 starting Thursday at the Garlic Festival Association Office in downtown Gilroy or at the door on the day of the pageant.

Meet the proud contestants:

Heather Brodersen

Age: 20; School: Gavilan Community College; High school: Gilroy High

Speech: “Garlic Down Under”

Talent: Flute Performance

Melissa Davis

Age: 20; School: Gavilan Community College; High school: Gilroy High

Speech: “Garlic Marks the Spot”

Talent: Vocal Performance

Juliana Vanni

Age: 18; School: Christopher High School

Speech: “Garlic Idol”

Talent: Martial Arts Performance

Heather Saenz

Age: 23

School: Graduate of Mt. Holyoke College; High school: Gilroy High

Speech: “Garlic-ista”

Talent: Dance Performance

Brandi Callanta

Age: 20

School: Gavilan Community College; High school: San Benito High

Speech: “Princess and the Garlic”

Talent: Speed Painting Performance

Olivia Echeverria

Age: 21

School: Graduate of Bethany University; High school: Anchorpoint Christian High School

Speech: “Fresh Clove of Gilroy”

Talent: Guitar and Vocal Performance

Sara Wittry

Age: 18

School: Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy

Speech: “Extra Extra”

Talent: Bo Staff Performance

Julia Brewka

Age: 20; School: University of San Francisco; High school: Archbishop Mitty High School

Speech: “iGarlic”

Talent: Vocal Performance

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