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Hazelwood West's Carolina Cruz Named Valley of Flowers Queen

Cruz and several others receive honors at culmination event of the festival.

While moms across the country celebrated being queens for the day, the 49th crowned its newest queen from a field of 22. 

Immediately following the parade, this year's award winners were announced at the pavillion on the grounds.

Before the crowning of this year's queen, the members of last year's court, Nasya Buckley, Madison Call, Samantha Rupp, Nicole Schuler and Queen Colleen Hoette, made a few remarks and thanked their families for their support.

Then, each of the 2011 queen candidates said a few words to thank their families and sponsors.

Florissant then made the big announcement for the 2011 court. 

"Happy Mother's Day to everyone," he said, which was met with applause. "Today, we celebrate the wonderful qualities of our beautiful young women."

The ladies on stage appreciated his sentiments, but they were eager to know who had been chosen as the queen. The 2011 special maids were announced first: Kim Meyer, Christine Jackson and Melanie Gates. Ashley Higginbotham was named as runner-up.

Finally, Mayor Schneider announced Carolina Cruz as the 2011 Valley of Flowers queen, and she was crowned by 2010 Queen Hoette.

After the awards, Cruz's sister, Alexandra Barrera, shared that Cruz was also named prom queen at Hazelwood West High School the previous night.

"It's a royal weekend," Cruz said after being asked about the dual honors.

"I'm very happy and very proud," Adiela Cruz, Carolina's mother, said.

Before the announcement of the queen and her court, the festival organizers also announced the names of the winners and runners-up of the parade and Pretty Baby contest.

The parade winners included: the City of Hazelwood for Best Organizational Float, for Best Decorated Car, for Best Theme and  for Best Commercial Unit.

At the time of publication, the complete list of the other winners and runners-up had not been posted on the Valley of Flowers website, but it should be in the next few days.

The festival's coordinators are now looking forward to next year's Valley of Flowers Festival, which will be the 50th year.

"It's going to be the biggest and best ever," said Mary Gettemeier, who is a member of the festival's board of directors.

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