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Q&A with Winona Peach Festival Queen and Princesses

Q&A with Winona Peach Festival Queen and Princesses

The Winona Peach Festival has been a community event since 1967 – and a tradition in my family for years. Besides its famous peach sundaes, the Winona Peach Festival is known for its pageant for contestents between 16 and 19 years old. We chatted with this year’s Peach Queen and Peach Princesses to learn about their roles in the community.

Winona Peach Festival
From left to right: Zipporah, Olivia, Andrea

2016 Queen Olivia (Miss Knights of Columbus)

Olivia Pericak, 18, is entering her first year of the nursing program at Trent University. She was crowned this year’s Peach Queen.

What is your favourite Peach Festival tradition?

My favourite peach festival tradition is always arriving early to the park Friday evening and getting able to ride the midway rides with not as many people on them!

What has been the highlight of the Peach Pageant process for you?

The highlight of the Peach Pageant process for me so far has been meeting all of my fellow constants. Each one of the candidates was a pleasure to get to know, and we have all become very good friends.

How does your sponsoring organization work with the community?

The Knights of Columbus are a charity based organization that serve the Stoney Creek community. They host charity dinners and all proceeds are donated. They are able to provide financial support to the students of the Stoney Creek, as well through bursarys.

What is your advice for young women like yourself who are navigating their teen years and learning the importance of self-confidence and giving back to the community?

The advice I would give young women is to always push themselves and step out of their comfort zones, because if they don’t, unfortunately they will never know what opportunities they are missing out on. Pushing yourself will allow you to learn more about yourself and help you get involved in events that help better the community.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as Peach Queen to promote “tourism and goodwill”?

Getting involved in more community events, and introducing myself to new people and making new friends is what I am looking forward to during my reign as the Miss. Winona Peach Queen 2016.

What is your go-to festival treat?

My go-to festival treat is the Homefront Cancer Services funnel cakes! Deep fried dough, with vanilla ice cream is a match made in heaven!

What is your favourite Peach Festival food?

My favourite peach festival food is the Optimist Club of Stoney Creeks cold deli sandwiches. Very classic sandwich reminding me of my elementary school days.

What is your favourite Midway ride?

My favourite midway ride is the ferris wheel. A ride that has always returned to the peach festival year after year and it allows you to get a great view of the festival and the surrounding Winona community.

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend my free time volunteering with youth at St. Francis Xavier parish throughout various events such as bible camps, youth groups or sleepovers.

Where do you see yourself in the coming years?

I see myself studying nursing at Trent university for the next four years. I plan to graduate in the year 2020 and become a full registered nurse, and start my career dedicating my life to others.

Winona Peach Festival Pageant

2016 Princess Andrea (Miss Homefront Cancer Services)

Andréa Margaret Szafran, 17, attends the University of Ottawa for Health Sciences and looks forward to continuing her swimming career in university. She volunteers with Homefront Cancer Services, Canadian Blood Services, Pantene Beautiful Lengths Hair donations, Terry Fox run and other organizations. 

What is your favourite Peach Festival tradition?

Volunteering with my organization at the food booth. I love making customers smile and I enjoy knowing I have made their Peach Festival experience something special.

What has been the highlight of the Peach Pageant process for you?

The highlight of the Peach Pageant has been showcasing my organization. As the first representative of Homefront Cancer Services in the Peach Pageant’s history, I felt a deep aspiration to represent my organization exceptionally and to spread the word about their great community involvement.

How does your sponsoring organization work with the community?

Homefront Cancer Services assists the community by focusing on cancer patients who require extra equipment, medical equipment and supplies (walkers, wheelchairs), support (as in driving to and from doctors’ appointments) that they could not have accessed so easily otherwise due to the expenses. Homefront’s goal is to make these resources that many cancer patients require easier to attain.

What is your advice for young women like yourself who are navigating their teen years and learning the importance of self-confidence and giving back to the community?

“Go with your gut and trust yourself!” Oftentimes we downplay what we can actually do for fear of failure, but the truth is, whatever your dreams are, they are attainable! If your heart is set on it, it will happen; never doubt your capabilities. Let your confidence in your abilities shine not as an ego but as a humble acknowledgement of your talents that you are determined to pursue. Giving back to the community will keep your heart humble, but also happy; it is so important to take advantage of our gifts and put them to use. You, as a singular person, do have a lot of power, especially when you put it into volunteering: you can actually change someone’s entire world by simply lending a hand where it was greatly needed.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as Peach Princess to promote “tourism and goodwill”?

I am looking forward the most to passing on the message of the value in volunteering and leadership to other youth. The position as Peach Princess will allow me to interact and communicate with many people over the course of the year, to expand my horizons, and to hopefully encourage others to continue to do the work that is needed in their community. I love working hands on for a worthy cause, and I hope I can share this passion with others!

What is your go-to festival treat?

Definitely Peach Sundaes, but… it wouldn’t be Peach Fest if I didn’t have a deep fried pickle and mars bar!

What is your favourite Peach Festival food?

I am positively addicted to the panzorolls!

What is your favourite Midway ride?

The Avalanche!

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend most of my time working, whether it be at my job, volunteering, or school work. I divide the rest of my time for family, friends and my hobbies! I love everything crafty, and find myself painting, scrapbooking and crating things. I love to read (my favourite author is Stephen King), dance (I am a ballerina), and swim. I enjoy keeping busy and active in all aspects of my life.

Where do you see yourself in the coming years?

In the future I see myself working in the medical field; I aspire to attend medical school, hopefully working as a doctor in the emergency room. My ultimate goal is to partake in Doctors Without Borders, or similar initiatives.

Winona Peach Festival Pageant

2016 Princess Zipporah (Miss Kinsmen Club of Stoney Creek)

Zipporah van Oldenbarneveld, 19, studies business and economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is involved in New Hope Community church where she volunteers at soup kitchens and attends bible camp. She also volunteers at the Hamilton General Hospital delivering food to patients in the cardiac and orthopedic surgical floors.

What is your favourite Peach Festival tradition?

My favourite Peach Festival tradition is definitely the Peach sundae. People come from all over and from all walks of life to try this treat from the festival. In fact, whenever I have friends of family who come from far away places I make sure they try a peach sundae since it’s so iconic and delicious.

What has been the highlight of the Peach Pageant process for you?

The highlight of the Peach Pageant process for me was definitely the bonding with my pageant sisters! We got along so well and shared so many amazing laughs, smiles and selfies throughout all the events and parades.

How does your sponsoring organization work with the community?

My sponsoring organization the Kinsmen Club works with different organizations to give them a helping hand. Since the creed of the club is serving the community’s greatest need, the Kinsmen Club works to help whomever needs it in the community and support a variety of projects.

What is your advice for young women like yourself who are navigating their teen years and learning the importance of self-confidence and giving back to the community?

It would be to try new things and step outside your comfort zone. The peach pageant process is all about inner beauty. Therefore, do not be afraid to participate and volunteer within the community to build your resume. Since the amazing experiences you will have will definitely help improve you self-confidence and give you the opportunity to make new friends and have many amazing experiences along the way.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as Peach Princess to promote “tourism and goodwill”?

What I’m most looking forward to during my year as a Peach Princess is to inspire youth, especially little kids. Many children look up to the Peach Queen and Princesses and I will definitely be using my role as a princess to inspire them to reach their full potential, follow their dreams and get involved within their communities!

What is your go-to festival treat?

My go to festival treat is definitely the Peach Sundaes since they are my favourite part of the festival. They are so iconic and represent everything the festival has to offer- good-hearted fun, delicious food and of course peaches!

What is your favourite Peach Festival food?

Besides the peach sundaes, I definitely enjoy the poutines at the festival. The Optimist Club does a superb job making them and a 100% Canadian.

What is your favourite Midway ride?

My favourite Midway ride is Alibaba. It’s especially beautiful at night with its colourful lights.

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend my spare time trying to improve myself and I always try to stay busy with things I like doing. Besides volunteering, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading and going to the gym. I also love to travel and enjoy nature and try to get out as often as I can.

Where do you see yourself in the coming years?

In the coming years I see myself completing my BBA degree with honours, and pursuing an MBA at the Schulich School of business at York. Ultimately, my goal is to be a university professor since I admire their research and dedication to their respective fields. Throughout all of this, I want to stay involved in my community and continue to volunteer.

What are your favourite Winona Peach Festival traditions? Visit the festival August 26-28, 2016.



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