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Watervliet teen earns Michigan Apple Queen title

Contact: Diane Smith
(800) 456-2753

(Grand Rapids, Mich.) –  Alyson Wendzel of Watervliet has been crowned the 2011 Michigan Apple Queen just four years after her older sister earned the same title.  It is the first time in the 60-year history of the pageant that sisters have been awarded the crown.

Alyson, 17, is the daughter of Joyce and Brad Wendzel.  She is a senior at Watervliet High School and plans to attend college to pursue a degree in music education.  Alyson’s older sister Pauline served as 2007 Michigan Apple Queen.

“This is a monumental achievement for this fine apple-growing family,” said Denise Donohue, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee – sponsor of the pageant.  “Pauline was a fantastic ambassador for the industry and I’m confident Alyson will do the same.”

Alyson is a fourth-generation apple grower.  Her family owns and operates Coloma Frozen Foods.

Contestants in the Michigan Apple Queen Pageant must be between the ages of 17 and 23 and have a connection to the industry.  Alyson will represent the apple industry at various public events, festivals and schools educating consumers about her firsthand experience in the apple industry.

The competition took place Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO in Grand Rapids.  It marked the 60th year of the competition that awards an apple representative based on poise, beauty, apple knowledge and public speaking ability.

Hillary Heeren, 22, of Rockford earned 1st runner-up in the competition.  The daughter of Brian and Linda Heeren, Hillary attends Ferris State University where she is pursuing a degree in Health Care Systems Administration with a minor in Communication.  She is the daughter of fourth-generation apple growers, packers and shippers.

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 in Michigan and around the world.  For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.