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Apple Queen crowned at pageant

Contact: Denise Yockey
(800) 456-2753

Grand Rapids, MI – Pauline Wendzel of Watervliet has been crowned the 2007 Michigan Apple Queen.

The Watervliet High School senior was chosen from six contestants in the pageant which took place Tuesday, Dec. 5 during the annual Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo. Leah Rasch of Conklin was named first runner-up with Annah Nyblad of Casnovia earning second runner-up.

The queen represents the Michigan apple industry at parades, fairs, festivals and media events throughout the year. This marks the 55th year of the queen competition, which is put on by the Michigan Apple Committee and the Michigan Horticultural Society Women's Auxiliary.

Contestants must be between the ages of 17 and 23 and have a link to the apple industry. Judging is based on poise, professionalism and knowledge of the apple industry.

When asked during the competition to choose a public figure to best promote Michigan apples, Wendzel said a cooking show host would be ideal.

“Someone like Martha Stewart,” she said. “Because when she said that the HoneyCrisp was her favorite apple, sales of those apples skyrocketed.”

Wendzel's great-grandfather, grandfather and father have been involved in all aspects of the apple industry as growers, packers and processors. In her spare time, Wendzel enjoys dancing, and being a camp counselor and a drum major.

The queen will make numerous public appearances, including riding a Michigan Apple Committee float in the State Street Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, and talking to school children about healthy eating habits.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.