Say hello to the garlicky gals

Ariana Martinez

Gilroy’s newest crop of lovely ambassadors are preparing to strut their stuff – brains, talent and poise – at the 34th Annual Gilroy Queen Pageant, a yearly competition coinciding with Gilroy’s famous Garlic Festival (now approaching its 35th anniversary).

The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 18 at the Gavilan College Theater, located at 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. Cost is $15 and tickets can be purchased in advance at the Garlic Festival Association office in downtown Gilroy or at the door the night of the pageant.

Contestants are judged on personal interview, speech, talent and evening gown. In addition to the selection of Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen, more than $15,000 in scholarships, cash awards and prizes will be awarded to contestants. In order to qualify for the pageant, applicants had 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 2013; and between the ages of 18 to 24 by July 2013.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival will award $1,000 to the winner, $500 to the first runner-up and $250 to the second runner-up and will give out a Past President’s Scholarship and a Past Queen’s Scholarship. Christopher Ranch will award $5,000 to the winner, $3,000 to the first runner-up, $2,000 to the second runner-up and give an award to each princess. Other awards include the OLAM Scholarship, the Franca Barsi Miss Gilroy Garlic 1986 Memorial Scholarship and the Founding Father’s Scholarship.

The queen, and frequently her court, represent the Garlic Festival at many of the pre-festival events, as well as the City of Gilroy as goodwill ambassadors. The ladies will make appearances at different events for local clubs and organizations during the Garlic Festival season. In past years, the queen has been invited to participate in the “Takko Garlic and Beef Festival” held in Gilroy’s sister city, Takko-Machi, Japan.

 This year’s fabulous contestants are:

Ariana Martinez

Gilroy, Christopher High School

Speech: “Ready for Battle”

Talent: Hip Hop/Contemporary Dance

Olivia Echeverria

Gilroy, Full Sail University

Speech: “Episode 35: The Clove Cake”

Talent: Opera Performance

Vanessa Martinez

Gilroy, Marinello School of Beauty

Speech: “A Spoonful of Garlic”

Talent: Hip Hop Dance

Melissa Wilder

Morgan Hill, West Valley College

Speech: “Today on Ellen”

Talent: Comedic Performance

Ashley Fellows

Gilroy, Gavilan Community College

Speech: “Austin Powers and The Garlic Mojo”

Talent: Jazz Dance

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