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Conklin teen named Michigan Apple Queen

Contact: Denise Yockey
(800) 456-2753

(Grand Rapids, Mich.) – Laura Dietrich of Conklin has earned the title of 2008 Michigan Apple Queen and will serve as an ambassador for the state's apple industry for the next year.

The 17-year-old Sparta High School senior is the daughter of apple growers Alvin and Helen Dietrich. She looks forward to representing the industry and educating the public about Michigan apples. Laura has worked at a local farm market the past three years, fielding questions about apple varieties and helping to raise consumer awareness.

“The public needs to know how important Michigan apples are to the economy and to their health,” she said. “I am honored to have this opportunity to bring this message to them.”

The Michigan Apple Queen Pageant took place Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Amway Grand Hotel, with seven contestants from around the state competing for the title.

Emily Koenigshof of Coloma, 17, was named First Runner-Up. The daughter of Fred and Linda Koenigshof, Emily attends Coloma High School.

Angie Dietrich of Conklin, 17, was named Second Runner-Up. The daughter of James and Carmen Dietrich, Angie attends Coopersville High School. (Laura and Angie are cousins.)

The Queen's Court represents the Michigan apple industry at parades, fairs, festivals and media events throughout the year. Contestants, between the ages of 17 and 23, are judged on several factors including poise, professionalism and apple industry knowledge. They take part in one-on-one interviews with judges, an evening gown competition and a live onstage interview question.

“The apple queen and her court perform an invaluable role on behalf of our industry,” said Denise Yockey, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “These outstanding young ladies help spread the word in a beautiful way from a unique and very knowledgeable perspective.”

Laura enjoys working with children, playing piano, cooking and swimming. After high school graduation, she plans to participate in World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, and attend Michigan

State University in the fall to pursue a career as a physician.

According to the Michigan Apple Committee, apples are Michigan's most valuable fruit crop, with a value of about $100-million annually to the apple grower.

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.