GREENVILLE — Taylor Bretzke walked away with the 2013 Danish Festival Queen crown Saturday, making Danish Festival history along the way.
Bretzke, the 17-year-old daughter of Bruce and Kelli Bretzke, competed in the 2007 Junior Miss Danish Festival Pageant — only in its second year — and won the title. In 2009, she competed in the 10th annual Young Miss contest, winning that title, as well. On Saturday night, Bretzke competed against three other contestants to win the Miss Danish Festival Queen contest, becoming the first young woman to win all three titles.
“I’ve been preparing for this night since I was 11 years old,” said Bretzke, who is about to begin her senior year at Greenville High School. “I knew then (when she won Junior Miss) that I wanted to win this someday.”
Contestants are judged on five phases of competition: private interview, lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit, artistic expression in talent, presence and poise in evening wear and onstage question and answer.
“The most difficult part is the onstage question because you don’t know what the judges might ask, but then when you give a good answer, it is just such a relief to have it over,” Bretzke said.
She was asked why someone should get involved with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, and she responded, saying it helps build confidence, gives the little brother or sister someone to look up to, helps them do better in school and helps them stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Bretzke also won the Lindsey McBride Spirit Award — voted on by contestants — the Lifestyle & Fitness award, the Excellence in Interview Award and the Julie Stephens Community Service Award.
“Taylor and her court will try to be as visible as possible over the (Danish Festival) weekend,” said Carol Warner, executive director of the Miss Danish Festival pageant.
Rounding out this year’s court are Miss Danish Festival First Runner-up Taylor Hedrick; Young Miss Danish Festival Emma Skogseth; Young Miss First Runner-up Molly Rodenhouse; Junior Miss Danish Festival Alexis Hallock; and Junior Miss First Runner-up Morgan Masters.
The Young/Junior Miss Community Service Award went to Skogseth. Hadley Kerr won the Young/Junior Miss Active Lifestyle. The Spirit Award was given to Rodenhouse for the Young Miss contestants while Kayla Mann won the Junior Miss Spirit Award.
Hunter Hollenbeck, 4, the son of Tim and Rachel Hollenbeck, was chosen as Danish Festival prince and Dana Edgerly, 5, the daughter of Grant and Jennifer Edgerly, was chosen as Danish Festival princess.
Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area correspondent.