Most of the early information for this page came from accounts in the St. Louis Park Dispatch, which began publication in November 1941. The Dispatch was an avid reporter of the Miss St. Louis Park contest, devoting many headlines to the candidates and winners. By all means, please contact us with any corrections or additional information – or stories of what it was like to be Miss St. Louis Park!
Miss Charlotte Furber, class of 1939, was crowned our first Miss St. Louis Park. She recalls that the contest was sponsored by businessmen, and that the candidate received points when her supporters patronized those businesses. Charlotte’s attendants were Mary Anne Stoops, Caroline Meluies, Barbara Diack, and Margaret Rodine. Charlotte remembers participating in a parade down Nicollet Avenue, accompanied by the St. Louis Park Marching Band. There is an (unfortunately undated) Minneapolis Tribune photo showing Charlotte (described as “Queen Nicollet”) on a float, parading to Nicollet Park to watch a Minneapolis Millers baseball game. Earl Ainsworth was the chairman of the “On to Nicollet” committee and Clifford J. Brown was president of the SLP Business Men’s Association.
Charlotte’s coronation coincided with the inauguration of the Minneapolis Aquatennial, which kicked off on July 20, 1940. Its originators scheduled it for the third full week of July, as it was determined to be the driest and warmest week of the year. Guests included Gene Autrey (broadcasting his “Melody Ranch” program from WCCO Radio), and 92-year-old Chief One Bull, “last of the great Sioux warriors and famous for his defeat of General Custer.” The Torchlight Parade was initiated that year, first called the “Illuminated Evening Parade.” See the official web page at www.aquatennial.com
***An unfortunately undated but probably wartime article pictures Barbara Diack and indicates that she was chosen to represent St. Louis Park in the Aquatennial.
Miss St. Louis Park was chosen in a ceremony at the Park Theater on July 10. The newspaper reported that due to the pressures of war, Park and Hopkins were the only two suburban villages taking part in the competition that year. “St. Louis Park Night” featured a horse show at the Pastime Riding Academy and music by the Park Municipal band.
Six contestants vied for the title of Miss. St. Louis Park. Judges came from the Aquatennial committee, and the coronation took place at the Park Theater between shows. Chosen was Yvonne Terrian, who was also named Queen of the Suburban Area over Miss Hopkins, the only other contestant. Attendants were Charlotte Hurd and Barbara Johnson. The contest took place around July 10. July 18 was St. Louis Park day at the Aquatennial, with the highlight being a horse show at the Pastime Arena. Our Queen’s float in the Aquatennial parade depicted a little house with a white picket fence. The Princesses were dressed as a Red Cross nurse and a Victory Aide. The “V for Victory Throne,” designed by LeRoy Swanson, won an honorable mention. Our new royalty was also honored at a ball at the Lilac Lanes Café, hosted by the St. Louis Park Business Men’s Association. Lydia Rogers was very active in organizing the events and float. Yvonne was one of 12 finalists for the Queen of the Lakes crown.
1943: There is no mention of a Miss St. Louis Park in the Dispatch.
There appears to have been no Miss St. Louis Park, but two Park girls were contestants for Queen of the Lakes. Margaret Cary, a graduate of West High and sponsored by Munsingwear, and Elaine Campbell, sponsored by Radio City. The pageant was held at Theodore Wirth Pool on August 4, and there were either 8 or 15 contestants, depending on the account. Miss Cary won the contest, but when her fiancé came home from the war she abdicated her crown to get married. She was replaced by Nancy Thom.
Again there was no Miss St. Louis Park, but Park High graduate Nancy Briscoe was a contestant for the Queen of the Lakes pageant.
No mention is made of St. Louis Park royalty in the Dispatch, although local girl Elaine Campbell was invited to ride of the Miami, Florida float in the Aquatennial. (See more on Miss Campbell in 1947.) In this year of the polio epidemic, the Village Council banned all public gatherings, carnivals, fairs, or entertainments until the danger of polio was past. There were no fireworks on the Fourth of July, the Fireman’s Carnival was postponed til fall, and school was delayed for two weeks. Four Park residents were killed by polio that year, starting with 15-year-old Henry Wittgraf.
Milton H. Kuhlman was the chairman of 1947’s Miss St. Louis Park committee. The six candidates met at the Park Theater for judging, but did not appear on stage. They were judged on charm, graciousness, and beauty. Judges were the mayors of three surrounding communities. Chosen Queen was red headed Ann DeMar, a Park High graduate sponsored by the American Legion. Her attendants were Louise Garborg (Pockrandt Lumber) and Beverlee Hamlet (Rotary). There was some controversy over Ann’s eligibility, since she lived on the Hopkins side of Texas Ave., but she did attend school in St. Louis Park so she was deemed eligible. On July 15 the Queen and her Princesses were presented at the Park Theater. Mayor O.B. Erickson presented the crown and a check for $100 to be used for Miss DeMar’s Queen of the Lakes contest wardrobe. Miss Park and other local queens were shown on the front page of the Dispatch on July 15. Queen Ann rode in the Aquatennial parade in a brand new 1948 Packard, provided by Mr. McKay of McKay Motors. The convertible, newest car in the parade, featured a plush interior and power windows.
This was also the year that a St. Louis Park girl, Elaine Campbell, won second place at the Miss America pageant. She apparently competed as Miss Minneapolis when she won the title Miss Minnesota in August. Miss Campbell was a 1942 graduate of Park High and had attended the U of M for two years. She won her Miss Minnesota title from a field of 22 contestants. At the Miss America contest she sang opera despite a throat infection, and went away with a $3,000 scholarship and a $450 wardrobe.
The Miss St. Louis Park contest was sponsored by the St. Louis Park Women’s Club as the climax to their May Day Festival at Lenox Elementary School. The Festival was run as a fundraiser to buy playground equipment and warming houses in the village. Gerald Moore, VP of the Aquatennial Committee, was the m.c. of the coronation. Crowned queen was Virginia Hankins, who was studying “comptometry” at Felt and Farrant Manufacturing Co. in Minneapolis. [A comptometer was a precursor to the calculator, with about 100 keys, that could add, multiply, etc. Operators of this machine were known to become “lightning fast.”] The Women’s Club provided Queen Virginia Hankins with a wardrobe in her quest to be Queen of the Lakes. Ladies-in-Waiting were Carol Bildsten and Louise Garborg. There were 9 other contestants.
For the second year, the Park Women’s Club sponsored a Miss St. Louis Park pageant as part of their May Festival. Activities of the Festival, held at the Junior High, included ballroom dancing, card playing, and square dancing. The coronation took place on May 21, and the winner was Catherine Martin. Her attendants were Priscilla Brown and Sylvia Rydland. There were 12 other contestants. Queen Catherine received a $125 check from Skippy Peanut Butter for her Queen of the Lakes contest wardrobe. In an interview in the June 9, 1949 issue of the Echo, Katie stated that if she had been a man, she would have chosen to be a lawyer or a forest ranger. “However, because of circumstances beyond her control, she’ll settle for a dramatic career in radio.” Her favorite expression was “Holy Joe!” As an Aquatennial Queen candidate, Katie met celebrities like Bob Hope, Albin Barkley, Hubert Humphrey, and Clellan Card. Her big thrill was appearing on television. She was named runner-up in the contest. In October 1949 Catherine was named Queen of the Freshmen at the U of M’s Welcome Week Dance and won a blue storm coat with mouton lamb collar and hood.
It came to the attention of Robert Hankins, father of 1945 Miss St. Louis Park Virginia Hankins, that Park would not be fielding a contestant in the Queen of the Lakes contest at the Aquatennial. In the June 21, 1950 edition of the Dispatch, he challenged businesses to step up to the plate and sponsor a young lady for the event. The Dispatch got on the bandwagon, and staff photographer Bob Jacobson put in a call to Clellan Card – Axel to you and me – who was chairman of the Queen of the Lakes contest. Card noted that one of the 40 candidates for the title dropped out, and that there was no representative from Park. The call was put out, and in two weeks 15 contestants and 15 sponsors were found, the sponsors pledging to provide $10 toward the winning girl’s wardrobe. In addition, Roy Walbom of Walbom’s dress shop vowed that Miss St. Louis Park would be the best dressed contestant, pledging a $200 wardrobe to the winner. The contestants were treated to a day at the Lake Minnetonka home of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Allen of Deephaven. They also enjoyed a lunch at McCarthy’s. The coronation was held on July 13 at the Park Theater between shows. The winner was Joan Johnson, sponsored by Minikahda Hardware. Joan was the granddaughter of Park entrepreneur Robert Johnson. Her attendants were Gayanne Barber, Georgia Clark, Mary Roplin, and Sylvia Rydland. The crown was provided by the Bridal Shop of Minneapolis, and Mayor O.B. Erickson made the suspense-filled announcement.
The Miss St. Louis Park pageant was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, and was held on July 4 at Oak Hill Park. The 13 Queen candidates were treated to a dinner at McCarthy’s, corsages, and a day at the Lake Minnetonka home of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Walbom. There was also a dinner at Jenning’s with Naval ROTC midshipmen from the U of M as escorts. Mayor O.B. Erickson crowned Miss Jean Rennie the winner. Miss Rennie, sponsored by Park Drug, had previously been pinned the 1950 Orchid Queen at the high school’s Tropical Canteen.
Jean’s four attendants were Ann Sanders (Leslie Home Appliances), Beverly Forshier (Adolph Fine), Joyce Berquitz (Jennings Cafe), and Carolyn McKinley (Culligan Soft Water). Their first appearances would be at the St. Louis Park Lions Club Circus on July 12 and the SLP Fireman’s Carnival on July 17-19. Queen and court adorned the Skippy Peanut Butter Float in two Aquatennial parades. Queen Jean also won a $300 wardrobe from Walboms. A highlight of the Queen of the Lakes contest was when our Queen ran into the Lone Ranger in the elevator of the Nicollet Hotel.
The pageant was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and was held on July 4 at Oak Hill Park. For the first of many years, the 12 candidates were treated to dinner at the Dairy-Mor Drive-in, hosted by owner Bud Rodberg. Queen Joan Hancock, a championship swimmer and a dancer, won the crown. Her Princesses were Lois Sykora and Carolyn Motzko.
In a different competition, St. Louis Park resident Jean Sheils was chosen to represent Minnesota in the 1952 Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.
There were 17 candidates for the title of Miss St. Louis Park, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. After a dinner at Lilac Lanes Café, the candidates made their way to the Park Theater, where Pat Zimmerman was crowned between shows. Princesses were Jackie Hjermstad and Gayle Blichfeldt. Among the judges was Chick McKuen of WCCO-TV. Queen Pat was quite accomplished, and was quoted in the Dispatch thusly: “If I’d have been a boy I would have been a lawyer.” Times being what they were, she was currently employed as a secretary.
The Chamber of Commerce again sponsored the Miss St. Louis Park contest. One pre-contest event was “On to Nicollet Night,” the first since 1939. On June 25, Parkites, including Queen Pat and 12 contestants, caravanned to Nicollet Park (escorted by two squad cars and a fire truck) to see the Millers play the Columbus Redbirds. The girls also enjoyed a day at the Lake Minnetonka home of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Walbom on June 27. The contest took place on June 18. Judges, including local figure Mel Jass, dined with the candidates at Lilac Lanes Café before the ceremony at Park Theater. Chosen as Queen was Norma Thies: “She looks like Liz Taylor.” Norma did not grow up in Park, but was currently living at 41st and Salem. Her Princesses were Marlys Tchimperle and Pat Hoffman.
18 beautiful girls, including a set of twins, vied for the title of Miss St. Louis Park, as sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Pre-coronation activities included dinner at La Miracle Café, a trip to the Old Log Theater, and a day at Lake Minnetonka hosted by Mrs. Mabry Noxon, owner of the Pink Pony and chairman of the queen committee. After a banquet at Lilac Lanes, the ceremony was held between shows at the Park Theater on June 27. New queen Jayne Helsby hailed from England and came to the Park 4 years ago to live with her sister on Sunset Blvd. Ms. Helsby had also served as Engineers’ Day queen at the University of Minnesota. Park’s Princesses were Sheely Heimdahl and Carolyn Kumpula.
In this year there was also a Flame Queen contest, sponsored by the Fire Department to promote Fire Prevention Week. In 1955 the winner was 17-year-old Arlene Mattson, “a red headed Park High Senior.” In fact, one of the requirements of being Flame Queen was having red hair. In 1956, Arlene won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow Contest.
Another highlight was when a Park girl, Judy Penney, captured the Queen of the Lakes crown, competing as Miss Uptown. Although her family had lived in the Park for four years, she did not attend Park High, and she did not represent Park in the contest.
This year’s pageant was underwritten by Bud Rodberg, owner of the Dairy-Mor Drive-in located north of Lilac Lanes. Among the judges was WCCO-TV newscaster Chick McCuen. 14 candidates gathered at the Park Theater on July 1, where Patty Franks was crowned Miss St. Louis Park. “Red Hair, Baton Twirler, Steady Boy Friend, Golf, 36-24-35, Chemistry…That’s Patty Franks” read the news story. Her Princesses were Judy Garber and Cynthia Zerban. Miss Franks was employed at Betz Tots-to-Teens in Miracle Mile that summer. Oh, and the boyfriend was Terry Bartholme, whose sister Diane was also a contestant. Prior to the coronation, contestants were treated to a dinner at LaMiracle Dining, the play “He Was Born Gay” at the Old Log Theater, a day of fun and sun on Lake Minnetonka, and a coronation dinner at Lilac Lanes.
Virginia Swenson was the 1956 Flame Queen. Her attendants were Diane Glickman, Jeanne York, and Mary Jo Garland.
Other queens were Sonja Steenson, Park High Homecoming Queen, and Ramona Syverson, Norway Day Queen in Minneapolis.
Fourteen candidates vied for the Miss St. Louis Park sash. The Dispatch helpfully published each girl’s weight, height, eye color, hair color, and oh, place of employment. The girl with the best name was Sandy Shore. After many pre-coronation activities such as a day at a house on Lake Minnetonka, the girls again met at the Park Theater on July 1, where the athletic Beverly Jane Whittemore, a “pretty brunette cheerleader” according to the Dispatch, was crowned Queen. Queen Bev was a five year cheerleader who loved to watch football and basketball games: “I just go nuts,” she said. She was on the synchronized swimming team, the Echo staff, Canteen, and Hall and Building committee. She preferred “mood music” to the “jive and calypso numbers” so popular then. Bev hadn’t even considered entering the contest but was encouraged by her friend, Lu Anne Waldock. Bev’s attendants were Maureen O’Rourke and Kathleen Mcourtney. Junior Royalty were Merry Smith and Michael Alan Schoenberger.
In August, the Jaycees were all set to sponsor Miss St. Louis Park in the Miss Minnesota pageant, which was sponsored by the State Jaycees. Bob Finn and Ray Prout were to be the co-chairs. But they missed the deadline and the whole thing was dropped.
The Miss St. Louis Park pageant was again sponsored by Bud Rodberg. Queen Sharon Bigalke was crowned at the Park Theater in early July. Participating in the proceedings was Dale Woodley from WCCO’s “Popeye’s Clubhouse.” Sharon’s Princesses were Kathleen Kabrud and Louise Tilton. As the others before her, Sharon became one of 40 contestants for the Queen of the Lakes at the Minneapolis Aquatennial. For the sixth straight year, all 40 girls were treated to dinner at the Dairy-Mor, sponsored by owner Bud Rodberg. “Sharry,” a former Parkette and dance teacher, rode on the Royal Crown Cola float in the Torchlight Parade – the Parkettes also rode in the parade on a St. Louis Park fire truck. And, for the first and only time in recorded history, Miss St. Louis Park was chosen Queen of the Lakes. The Dispatch proclaimed “Our Sharon ‘Done’ It” and a quarter of a page was dedicated to her picture in the July 31 edition. Dorothy Stewart served as Chair of the event.
[Tragedy struck Queen Sharon a few years later. She suffered from severe headaches and submitted to brain surgery. The surgery went just fine but immediately afterwards she contracted meningitis which threw her into a coma. It took months for her to come out of it and she remains a “shadow of her former self.” Ever since she has been at the Park Nursing Home and has a full time caretaker.]
“10 Park Debs Vie For Title of Miss St. Louis Park,” announced the Dispatch. William Sandvig was the Chairman of the Mayor’s Queen Committee. The ten finalists were treated to a play at the Old Log Theater courtesy of the Miracle Mile Merchants’ Association. They also enjoyed a luncheon at the Minneapolis Golf Club sponsored by H.Vance Rorbach of Park Lane Carpets. Other activities include a day at a home on Lake Minnetonka, dinner at Lilac Lanes Café, and a trip to the Dairy-Mor Drive-in. Final judging took place at Jennings Holiday Lodge on June 29. Mayor Lefler presented the crown to Carole Banbury, an 8-year championship ice skater and ballet dancer who attended Colorado College. Attendants were Carol Ellefson and Nancy Jo Wallace. Junior Queen was Linda Heiber, and Junior Commodore was David Spandle, both age 7. There were 26 original contestants.
This year also saw 10 finalists out of more than 30 contestants in a contest sponsored for the first time and thereafter by the Chamber of Commerce. The lucky ten, pictured in the June 23 edition of the Dispatch, enjoyed a day at the home of Irene and Roy Walbom on Lake Minnetonka, dinner at Lilac Lanes, lunch at the Foo Chu Café, chow at the Dairy-Mor Drive-in, and a tour of Park’s shopping centers. The coronation was held on June 25 at Park High, emceed by Jim Devine. The program included a trampoline exhibition, a number by the Parkettes, a song by Susan Alrich (Vocalist at the Lilac Lanes Café), and the coronation of the junior royalty. Miss St. Louis Park was Gail Nelson, and her attendants were Patricia Hoban and Sharon Mitchell. The Junior Queen was Becky Edmond, and the Junior Commodore was David Herzan. The new Miss St. Louis Park participated in the Aquatennial parade riding on a float that was sponsored by Citizens State Bank. Bank official Larry Solarz drove the float, which was built over an Army jeep.
10 finalists out of almost 30 contestants were given the royal treatment at Park Terrace, Perkins Pancake House, and the Sports and Health Club in May. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event, and also provided $150 to the winner for her Aquatennial wardrobe. Larry Solarz of Citizens State Bank was the Chairman of the contest. The coronation was held at the Park High Auditorium on May 20, emceed by Jim Devine. The event featured dancing by the Parkettes, music by Roger Eckers and his Rhythm Ramblers, and a duo of national champion accordion players. 1960 Queen Gail placed the crown on the head of Darlene Anderson. Also chosen were Princesses Deanna Kunzelman and Kay Knudson. Park Fire Chief Pete Williams won $50 for nominating the winning contestant.
In June 1961 there was a royal summit of sorts, with six St. Louis Park girls with royal crowns gathering before the Aquatennial: Carol Banbury (stewardess, champion skater, former Miss Broadmoor), Marcia Morse (Miss Downtown Minneapolis), Deanna Kunzelman (former U of M Freshman queen), new Queen Darlene (championship golfer), Kay Knudson (last year’s U of M homecoming queen) and Sharon Bigalke (Miss St. Louis Park 1958 and Queen of the Lakes).
Later that June, the 14th to be exact, happened the Mr. and Mrs. Senior Citizen of St. Louis Park contest, held at the Methodist Hospital Auditorium. Eight “Jubilee” couples were nominated, including Mr. and Mrs. Andy Nelson, Jack Felber, and John Freeland. The program was emceed by Mrs. Michael D. Himmelman and S. Earl Ainsworth. Winners were Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Kilbourne. Mrs. Ora Baston, the city’s oldest resident, was presented with a bouquet by her great grandchildren. The event was given in connection with the St. Louis Park Beautification project and the city’s diamond (75 year) jubilee. It was sponsored by Charles Friedheim, Allen Christy, and Bill Pletsch, who contributed portraits of the couples. Before the program the party dined at McCarthy’s.
At the 1961 Aquatennial, Darlene Anderson was crowned Princess. She then handed the Miss St. Louis Park crown to her Princess, Deanna Kunzelman.
The Chamber of Commerce had been wanting to move the Miss St. Louis Park contest to August, after Aquatennial, to give her more time to prepare for the Queen of the Lakes contest. But to do so would leave Park with no queen for the transitional year. But since Darlene Anderson was crowned Aqua Princess in 1961, making Deanna Kunzelman Miss St. Louis Park after the 1961 Aquatennial, Deanna was eligible to compete in the 1962 Aquatennial. Which she did, despite the fact that she had just earned her wings as a stewardess at Eastern Airlines.
After Aquatennial 1962, the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the 1962-63 Miss St. Louis Park pageant. Pre-contest activities for the 10 finalists included meals, a boat ride on Lake Minnetonka, a Twins game, an appearance on the Arle Haeberle WCCO TV show, a fashion show, orientation by Queen Darlene Anderson, and free hairstyling. The program was held on August 18 at the High School auditorium and attended by 1,000. KRSI DJ George Murphy acted as emcee, and the Parkettes performed. One of the judges was Mary Lowe of the Mary Lowe School of Charm. The Dispatch reported that Queen Terri Harkins “is still walking on air” as Miss St. Louis Park. Terri, who worked at Perkins Pancake House, was sponsored by Cameo Coiffures, and won a $350 wardrobe and a membership to the Sports and Health Club. Her Princesses were Nancy Emerson and Carol Kiewal. Larry Solarz of Citizens State Bank again acted as Chairman of the event.
The 1963 competition was again held in August, with 10 finalists enjoying a three-day round of restaurants, a boat ride, bowling, a TV appearance on WCCO’s “Around the Town,” a style show, a “Mobile Parade down main streets of St. Louis Park” (which would be where?), culminating at the coronation on August 12 at the Sr. High. Entertainment at the pageant included the Parkettes, singers, and an accordion duet. Miss Jane Veker became Miss. St. Louis Park, also serving as the Fire Department’s Miss Fire Fighter.
Out of 26 original contestants, 10 finalists were treated to a number of pre-contest activities, including a fashion show at the Ambassador Motor Hotel, which columnist Cork Williams deemed Miss America caliber. The contest was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Co-Chairmen of the event were Mr. and Mrs. Gil Braun. A full page spread of all the candidates can be found in the August 13 edition of the Dispatch. The coronation took place at the High School, emceed by Jim Devine. It was billed as a variety show of local talent, featuring vocalist Patti Marker and comic Curtis Clayman, brother of semi-famous comic Danny Clayman. Also appearing were the Jaguars – Gary Oxman, Craig Schadow, and Steve and Bobby Rivkin. A group of seven girls did a dance number, but were not identified on the program as the Parkettes. Sharon Bigalke Siebert and 1963 Queen Jane Veker also appeared. Crowned Miss St. Louis Park was Ronna Lee Olson, with Princesses Karen Olsen and Patricia LaNore.
The Chamber of Commerce again sponsored the event, and Co-Chairmen were Leo Hughes and Bob Wolfe. Activities for the 10 finalists (out of 38 candidates – or was it 53?) included the usual meals, a workout at the Sports and Health Club, mini golf, a style show, and a cinerama movie at the Cooper Theater. On the day of the August 12 coronation, the queens were also in a convertible parade through town with fire and police escort. The competition was held at the High School, again emceed by Jim Devine. The program featured a modern interpretive dance from West Side Story, as performed by Miss Minnesota, Jeanne Marie Ruth, in preparation for the Miss America competition. Darlene Anderson, Miss St. Louis Park for 1961, sang and played guitar. Also performing were the Parkettes, the Rogues dance band, and singer Mr. Pat Pednarz. Back on the bill was Curtis Klayman, this time from Edina. Many of the candidates this year seemed to have addresses other than St. Louis Park, including the Queen, Julie Rochkes, who hailed from Edina and graduated from Holy Angels Academy. She was, however, employed and sponsored by Junior Miss at Knollwood Plaza. Princesses were Elizabeth Graeber and Linda Zuel. A dance at the King’s Inn followed the ceremony.
The Chamber of Commerce presented the Miss St. Louis Park contest, and the Queen was chosen at a ceremony on August 18 at the High School. The program featured MC Bob White from KRSI, visiting kings and queens, the Parkettes, the Parkette Go-Go Dancers, and the “Go-Go Sound of the Jaguars” (see 1964). Marilyn Field was chosen from 10 finalists, with runners-up Rochelle Malinsky and “vivacious” Nancy Levin. The requirements were that a young lady be a resident of St. Louis Park, be a high school graduate, be unmarried, and not over 24 years old. Presumably the young lady also had to be a young lady, a requirement that, like these others, was changed over the years.
Robin Hood Days was instituted by the Chamber of Commerce, taking place on August 13-19. The week of civic programs and parades was named for the Robin Hood Flour grain elevator on Highway 7 (demolished in 1968). Gene Schadow served as Richard the First, and Gil Braun as Robin Hood. Featured during the festival was the crowning of Miss St. Louis Park, who was now called Maid Marian. The ceremony, held on August 17 at the Park High Auditorium, was hosted by emcee Jim Devine. The Coronation Chairman was Bob Wolfe. Production assistance was provided by members of the St. Louis Park Community Theater. The Parkettes performed two numbers, and the Leo Fine Orchestra provided the music. Our first Maid Marian was Eloise Berg, chosen from a field of 37 contestants. Princesses Kathie Corcoran and Sheila Siegel were now called “ladies in waiting” in keeping with the festival’s Olde English theme. Coronation of the Junior Queen and Commodore was held on August 12 at the Central AV room. A note on the Maid Marian program indicates that pictures of the current and past Miss St. Louis Parks were on display at City Hall.
The Chamber of Commerce again produced Robin Hood Days, and Leo Hughes was the Regimental Commander in charge of Queens. Candidates were treated to ten pre-coronation activities, including the traditional Lake Minnetonka outing, this time hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Pat Corcoran (at the Hagen and Walbom homes). Other activities included a tea, bowling party, fashion show, parade, and dinner-dance. The coronation took place on August 15, once again emceed by Jim Devine. The ceremony featured two numbers by the Parkettes and a song from the St. Louis Park Community Theater’s production of “South Pacific.” According to the Dispatch, the highlight of the Maid Marian contest was that three of the candidates wore the same frock. 30 girls were narrowed to one: Cynthia Gangl. Runners up were Terry Lynn Johnson and Rita Frankel. Among the prizes was a Queen-sized King Koil Posture Bond bed, donated by Hughes Furniture. Get it?
Robin Hood Days was held from August 2-8 of that year. John S. Allen, Jr. served as King Richard, and Leo Hughes served as Robin Hood. Queens Regimental Commander was Dr. Richard Kindy. Another elaborate float was designed by St. Louis Park Sun artist Lawrence Spiegel and paid for by the Chamber. As for Maid Marian, 30 young women competed in the contest, and were treated to their traditional Lake Minnetonka outing, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Scherling. The Coronation Ceremony was again emceed by Jim Devine. “The Thing” was either the name of a song or the name of the folk singing group who entertained at the event. The Parkettes performed two numbers. The winner was Joy Sheekanoff, and Ladies in Waiting were Marilyn Schultz and Clariece Locketz. Junior Queen and Commodore were Lisa Doolittle and Stephen Pratt.
Robin Hood Days was held June 21-27, this time led by Robert N. Benham as King Richard and a dashing Robert Wolfe as Robin Hood. Again, 30 young women vied for the coveted Maid Marian. The winner was Faith Kiperstin, sponsored by Brookside Drug, who attributed at least part of her success to her lucky turquoise dress. In October 1969, Faith had been the second runner up in the Minnesota Pageant of the Miss Teenage America Contest. Faith Kiperstin became Faith Schway and went on to win Mrs. Minnesota in 1985. Runners up were back to being Princesses; they were Sue Hedberg and Lynn Kasma. Prizes included memberships at the Sports and Health Club. On July 20, you could go get your car washed at Jim Lupient Olds by one of the local beauty queens or by Miss America her own self, to benefit the Minnesota Mental Retardation Center. The year’s junior queen and commodore were Deana Prickett and Harry Maron.
This turned out to be the last year for Robin Hood Days. The last Queen’s Regimental Commander was Robert Sewall, and the Coronation Co-Chairmen were Nancy Locke and Kit Swanson. A record-breaking 53 initial candidates for the crown of Maid Marian were cut to 30 for the coronation, which was emceed for the last time by Jim Devine. The Parkettes again performed two numbers, and music was provided by the Jerry Mayeron Orchestra. The new queen was Carmen Nelson, who was also voted Miss Congeniality. She was to be the very last Maid Marian and the last representative of St. Louis Park at the Aquatennial’s Queen of the Lakes pageant until 1985. Her princesses were Marcia Watson and Jan Wilcox. Junior Queen and Commodore were Sharon Jacobson and Scott Phillips.
At first the Chamber of Commerce committed to continuing the queen contest, even after dropping Robin Hood Days, but ultimately that too was dropped. A Chamber of Commerce newsletter dated July 1972 provides the explanation: “Reasons for dropping the contest include high cost, the need to put more emphasis on programs directly related to the member business firms, and the feeling that this type of activity is more in keeping with the activities of a civic club. The contest was sponsored by the Jaycees until about 1960 when the Chamber took over sponsorship. The competition has been sponsored by firms who have paid a sponsor fee for contestants representing their firms. In the past it has become increasingly difficult to find enough businesses willing to sponsor candidates. …Letters are being sent to some of the civic organizations in St. Louis Park to see if they are interested in taking over sponsorship of the Miss St. Louis Park competition as one of their civic projects.” There were no takers.
The Edina Jaycees also dropped their contest in favor of “more meaningful activities.” Minnetonka never had a contest. Hopkins’ pageant faltered but came back strong. Golden Valley retained the Lilac Queen contest.
There were some other contests in the area that took place during this time. In addition to the annual Homecoming Queen and King contests, there was Miss Knollwood Shopping Center, open to 17-year-olds in the area. On October 19, 1972, Robin Smith of Minnetonka took the crown from 55 contestants. Then there was Miss Prudential, chosen from 60 contestants. Bobbie Sievert was crowned on May 13, 1972 at the Coronation Ball at the Thunderbird Motel.
Joan Sewall, a former Park Homecoming queen, won the title of Mrs. Minnesota in March 1981. She described her entry in the contest was an attempt to get some publicity for her one woman fashion show. At the contest she revealed that she had had a double mastectomy and hoped to be an inspiration to other women to feel good about themselves. (SLP Sun, March 25, 1981)
St. Louis Park lass Barbara Johanna Haeger was named Miss Photogenic at the Miss Minnesota Teenworld Competition, held for girls ages 14-18 at the Leamington Hotel on August 20-22.
10 candidates competed in the first Miss St. Louis Park contest held since 1971. Faith Schway, Maid Marian 1970, helped brought back the competition, which was now sponsored by Party in the Park. By 1985 Faith was the owner and director of Premiere School of Self-Improvement and Professional Modeling, Inc. The coronation was held on July 6 at the Park High Auditorium. Faith and her husband Carl Schway acted as Masters of Ceremonies. The judges included Marilyn Field Barenbaum, Miss St. Louis Park 1966. The St. Louis Park City Band played at the ceremony. Kathy Drake took the honors, and her Princesses were Evelyn Swartz and Barb Haeger. The program stated “Miss St. Louis Park will be a guest at the Minneapolis Aquatennial as a visiting queen this July and will vie for the Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes title in 1986.” Prizes included a full scholarship to the Premiere School of Modeling, $150 college scholarship, make-over, a $350 wardrobe, and a white synthetic fur boralba cape to use during her reign.
The Miss St. Louis Park contest (that year “the Miss Centennial St. Louis Park Queen Contest” in honor of the Park’s centennial) was held at the Park Nicollet Medical Center auditorium (because it was air conditioned) on June 28. A special St. Louis Park Centennial float was built for parade duty. 12 candidates were narrowed down to Queen Laura Kruckenberg, with Princesses Debra Brummer and Amy Davidson.
New this year was the inclusion of senior citizens as Honorary Queen and Commodore. These were Ann Brown, Marie Hartmann, Edward McDevitt, and Donald Selvig.
Junior Royalty were Brooke Lindstrom, Maija Frievalds, Todd Tourville, and Nicholas Boyd.
Coronation of Miss St. Louis Park was again held at Park Nicollet Medical Center, on June 27. The happy Miss St. Louis Park was Patti Lindberg, and her Princesses were Andrea Resnick and Kelli Ann Welsh. There were eight contestants, including a young Russian woman.
The Junior Royalty Coronation took place at Knollwood Mall on November 7, 1987. The Queen was Tiffany Thompson, with Princess Lyndsay Obbarius. King was Thomas Gillespie, with Prince Robbie Alvarado. The program featured a dance production number choreographed by Dorothy Henry.
The Miss St. Louis Park pageant took place on June 25. Five days before, tragedy had struck in the form of a car accident that took the life of candidate Amy MacMillan. Also injured in the crash was Miss St. Louis Park 1985, Kathy Drake. The pageant was dedicated to MacMillan, and no doubt a pall was felt over the proceedings. Of the seven remaining contestants, Carla Swartz was chosen Miss St. Louis Park, and the Princesses were Jennifer Bormes and Tricia Storm.
The Junior Royalty Coronation took place on November 5, 1988 at Knollwood Mall. There were 11 girls and 9 boys in competition. Queen was Jessica Scofield with Princess Katie Hoekstra. King was Curtis Wilson with Prince Steven Scofield. Entertainment included a dance number choreographed by Dorothy Henry.
The 1989 Junior Royalty Pageant took place on June 29, 1989 at Knollwood Mall. 16 girls and 9 boys competed. Dorothy Henry again choreographed a dance number as part of the entertainment. Queen was Christa Bungert Meland, with Princess Page Redburn. King was Joshua Bills with Prince Alan Hammond. The 1988 Royalty competed in the Aquatennial.
Amy Carlson was selected Miss St. Louis Park, and her Princesses were Erin Erickson and Barbara Blumberg.
There were no candidates in 1991, but Barbara Blumberg agreed to serve as Miss St. Louis Park. Her mother had been coordinator of the pageant for several years. She participated in over 50 parades and the activities associated with Aquatennial.
The pageant took place at Sheraton Park Place on July 2. Because there was no coronation the previous year, past royalty was represented by the 1990 queen and princesses. There were seven contestants. The Queen was Mary Lahammer, and Princesses were Molly Wilson and Lori Kohler.
The pageant was held at the Sheraton Park Place Hotel on July 1, where 10 candidates competed. Stacey Ertel was named Miss St. Louis Park. Rochelle Reinitz and Andrea Strom were princesses. Reinitz was also Miss Congeniality.
The pageant was held at the Sheraton Park Place Hotel on June 30 as part of Party in the Park, who purchased a permanent float for the royalty. 10 candidates came down to one: Sarah Colleen Plautz, who was also Most Photogenic. Her princesses were Leah Schoeff and Rebecca Keuning. Sara Olson was Miss Congeniality.
The pageant was held at the Sheraton Park Place Hotel on June 29. There were 11 candidates. Although Dallas Bartholomew (sponsored by Masonic Lodge) was crowned, for whatever reason Karen Metzger (Al’s Place) served as Miss St. Louis Park. Her Princesses were Sara Olson (1330 Hair studio) and Erica Eastburg (Byerly’s). A dance followed.
The Pageant was held on June 27 at the Sheraton Park Place Hotel, sponsored by MEPC. Anne Marie Clausen, sponsored by Gipper’s, was selected Miss St. Louis Park from a field of 10 contestants. She became Miss Minnesota USA 2001, and went on to work at the Premiere School of Self-Improvement and Professional Modeling for Faith Schway. Ann Marie also won Miss Congeniality that year. There were two princesses as well.
The pageant was held at the St. Louis Park High School for the first time and every year since. The royalty program came under the canopy of “Parktacular.”
Miss St. Louis Park was Nina Humphrey (UW-Madison), who was named Miss Congeniality at the 1999 Aquatennial. Princess and Miss Congeniality was Tanya Jones (Winona State) and the other Princess was Katie Anderson. The float was re-built to make it represent the parks of the city. The royalty also added the “Children First” sign to the back. In addition, scholarships were instituted this year to the royalty. Academics were stressed with the candidates.
Miss St. Louis Park was Danielle Trego. Miss Congeniality/Princess was Emily Foster and Princess Janea Mashek.
Angie Flatgard (St. Thomas University) was Miss St. Louis Park and Princesses were Caitlin Biegler (UW-LaCrosse) and Christine Chan (U of M). Miss Congeniality was Katy Schufelt. Shirley May was Senior Queen.
Miss St. Louis Park was Kate Thomas (Kalamazoo College, Princess was Erin Copeland (Mankato State), and we had our first male Ambassador, Tim Nordstrom (North Hennepin). The title of Miss Congeniality was changed to Most Congenial, just in case a man was selected. The honor went to Maggie Carlson. At this time, the coordinators changed the program from “Royalty” to “Ambassadors” in an effort to get away from the beauty pageant stereotype and include men.
Miss St. Louis Park was Tara Soltow. Ambassadors include Maggie Carlson. Most Congenial was Katie Cheeseboro. Queen Tara made the Star Tribune as the winner of the Aquatennial Queen Candidate Spaghetti Eating Contest-1/4 pound in 13 seconds. Her previous record at the North Hudson Pepperfest contest was 41 seconds for a full pound. (There are pictures!) Mayor Jeff Jacobs was emcee with Aquatennial Princess 2001 Anne Sumagil. Junior Ambassadors were Ryan McCanna, Dakota Gangloff, Kayla Diezik and Abigail Jacobson. Senior Ambassadors were Al and Barb Bryant. Barb had been a Spanish teacher at SLP Jr. High and later a para at the high school.
Miss St. Louis Park 2003 was Samantha Biegler, who was the only one to have been a Junior Queen and Miss St. Louis Park. The contestant voted Most Congenial was Michelle Hogan. Ambassadors were Kaitlyn Pommrehn and Tim McCune. Aquatennial Princess 2001 Anne Sumagil and Former Aquatennial Commodore Louis Rygg were emcees at the coronation. Junior Ambassadors were Taylor McCanna, Lee Neitge, Mikayla Ebert and Miranda Cosgrove. Senior Ambassadors were Jim and Marlys Liska.
Queen and Most Congenial was Katie Ross. Ambassadors were Colleen Clark, and Hiend Mahamoud. Senior Ambassadors were Alan and Mary Poulsen. Junior Ambassadors were Sophie Maclem-Johnson, Ellie Johnson, Mara Henderson, and Athena Carlson.
Serena Carlson was crowned Miss St. Louis Park and Most Congenial. Ambassadors were Katrina Blyum and Binyame Haile. Senior Ambassadors were Carmen and Bridget Kiennenberger. Junion Ambassadors were Austin Stanley, Morgan MacDonald, Shea Swanson, and Jacqueline Jordan. Our Ambassadors won the annual North Hudson Pepperfest Spaghetti Eating Contest.
Racheal Scully was selected as Miss St. Louis Park. She had been a Junior alternate in 1996. Chelsea Rutz was selected Ambassador and Most Congenial. Other Ambassadors were Gina Balkanende and Nishan (Shan) Dealwis, who was a St. Louis Park Junior Commodore in 1995. Junior Ambassadors were Bacaseva Hill, Aeola Lu, Max Miller, and Natalie Gaskins. Senior Ambassadors were Gene and Sandy Scherling – who had sponsored an outing for the candidates during Robin Hood Days 1969! Gene Scherling passed away during his year as a Senior Ambassador and was mourned by the Ambassador Family.
2006 also saw the completion of a new float for the City, replacing the one donated by Party in the Park. The new trailer was funded by Parktacular. The 8 ft. by 30 ft. structure was made by Rick Bohn of Bohn Welding. The float depicts different parts of the Park, such as the Rec Center and Wolfe Park.
Melissa Carson was chosen as Queen, with Ambassadors Justin Carlson and Jessica Cormier. Junior Ambassadors were Sam Miller, Duncan Macklem-Johnson, Danielle Pardisi, and Katrina Halstensen. Senior Ambassadors were Bob and Joyce Ramsey. Bob Ramsey was the former Assistant Superintendent of SLP schools.
2007 was the last year where the title “Queen” was used. It was determined by the coordinators that the title Ambassador was more descriptive of the position, gender neutral, and eliminated any conflict that titles with a hierarchy might cause.
- Erin Scully
- Kevin Balkanende
- Tristan Sievers
- Sophie Roloff
- Emma Roloff
- D.J. Wilkinson
- Gabriella Johnson
- Sky Ochea Jordan
Senior Ambassadors: Rosealee and David Lee
Our Ambassador was Jacinta Moss.
- Quyana Robinson
- D’aviyan Robinson
- Emelia Johnson
- Alexandra Smith
- Aliviah McClinton
Senior Ambassadors: Debbie Blake and Mary Anderson
The Junior and Young Adult Ambassador coronation took place at the St. Louis Park High School auditorium.
- Athena Carlson
- Jackie Adelmann
- Khalyma Robinson
- D’marco Robinson
- Analicia Knutson
Senior Ambassadors: Dee and Jim Bullock
Young Adult and Junior Ambassador Coronation was on June 18 at 4 pm at the High School.
- Aaron Troska
- Taylor McCanna (Junior Ambassador 2003)
- Ben Taylor
- Gabryella Knutson
- Jalen Lewis
- Bella Arel
Senior Coronation was on June 16 at the Mariott West. Seniors Dee and Jim Bullock served a second term.
- Taylor Miles
- Morgan MacDonald (Junior Ambassador 2005)
- Abigail Jacobson (Junior Ambassador 2002)
- Alenea Green
- Nicholas Green
- Mariah Johnson
- Lucas Johnson
- Alissa Swartwood
Senior Ambassadors: Gary Fink and Marjorie Douville
- Avril Bowling
- Laura Myers
- Ryan McCanna (Junior Ambassador 2002)
- Sophie Macklem-Johnson (Junior Ambassador 2004)
- Amanda Swartwood
- Logan Robinson
- Morgan Running
Senior Ambassadors: Chet and Ann Finnerud
Ambassador: Nik Caven
- Nevaeh Bunce
- Almena Richards
- Ella Albers
Senior Ambassadors: Denny and Judy Monson
- Quyana Robinson (Junior Ambassador 2009-2010)
- Maria Lezama
- Abigail Oppegaard
- Sarah Wahl
- Ayvia Essoi
- Aidan Koehn
Senior Ambassadors: Greg and Jackie Kile
- Angela Mendez
- Alexandra Smith
- Kim Tran
- Santeyne Thornton
- Sidney Bradley
- Chase Smith
- Kailey Vega
Senior Ambassadors: Jeff and Barb Carlson