WINNER: 2019 Sunflower Queen Zarah Simpson is excited for the year ahead.
WINNER: 2019 Sunflower Queen Zarah Simpson is excited for the year ahead. Taylor Battersby

Sunflower royalty ready for duty

Meet your 2019 Queen

FOR this year's Sunflower Queen Zarah Simpson, the Central Highlands Easter Sunflower Festival has always been a part of her life.

Ms Simpson said ever since she was a girl, she has loved the annual event.

"I've always loved the parade and Mum was always like 'you need to go in, you need to go in',” she said.

"I always said, 'Oh no, I'll never be brave enough.'

"By the time I got older, I thought it's a good opportunity.

"You get to meet new people, you get to go places and just get involved in the community.

"I did CQ Pet Rescue (as my charity fundraiser) and I got to meet so many new people even though I work beside them daily.”

The Sunflower Festival's new queen, who raised more than $4000 for her chosen charity, CQ Pet Rescue, said the best part was getting to know people.

"Everyone on the committee, the entrants, the Canadian people - and gaining a lot of confidence from it,” Ms Simpson said.

"Half the stuff (we have to do), two years ago I wouldn't even have imagined doing.

"It was definitely something I thought would be a good thing and it was definitely worth it.”

Ms Simpson is now looking forward to getting more involved in communities throughout the Central Highlands and attending upcoming major events.

"(I'm also looking forward to) going over to Altona and getting to see what their festival is like. Apparently it's very different to ours.

"And getting to know the Canadians more - before this I didn't even know we had a sister city - and bringing back stuff from Canada to here for our committee.”

Ms Simpson said it was also important to help get the word out closer to next year's festival and hopefully boost entrant numbers.

Last year there were only three entrants across the royalty categories. This year's numbers were slightly higher with three entrants in each category, making six in total.

"We'd like to get it bigger,” said Ms Simpson.

Ms Simpson said it would also be interesting if males were incorporated into the festival royalty in the future.

However, she said the festival would need to look at doing male-related events to attract male entrants.

For more information about the 2020 Queen Quest, send an email to cheastersunflowerfestival or visit the Central Highlands Easter Sunflower Festival's Facebook page.

Crowned for the second year in a row

RECENTLY crowned 2019 Sunflower Princess Jordan Spargo was no stranger to the Central Highlands Easter Sunflower Festival.

Last year, Ms Spargo also took out a spot in the royalty team when she was crowned 2018 Junior Princess.

Ms Spargo said she had such a great experience last year that she wanted to enter the competition again.

2019 Sunflower Princess and highest fundraiser winner Jordan Spargo.
2019 Sunflower Princess and highest fundraiser winner Jordan Spargo. Taylor Battersby

"I did it last year and it was a great opportunity to meet new people and build a relationship with our sister city in Altona and connect more with the community,” she said.

In addition to being crowned Princess, Ms Spargo also took out the coveted highest fundraiser spot.

"I raised my funds for CWA and the ladies there were so lovely,” Ms Spargo said.

"It was a great experience.”

Ms Spargo raised $7500 for the organisation, which she said they planned to put towards renovating their hall.

"I had that goal and I did achieve it. I was blown away, I was so happy,” Ms Spargo said.

"With my fundraising, the community was great.

"They'll come and support you and are happy to buy a ticket for a raffle.”

Ms Spargo said she hoped to be more involved in the community than previous winners.

"We need to be out more so people can see us and they don't forget about us.”

Our junior princess is excited for year ahead

BREANNA Hales was recently crowned as this year's Sunflower Junior Princess.

For Ms Hales, the entire experience of the Sunflower Festival was a whirlwind of excitement.

CROWNED: Junior Princess Breanna Hales
CROWNED: Junior Princess Breanna Hales. Contributed

"It was pretty amazing to be crowned, as were all the events leading up to it.

"As a Princess entrant you would mostly help the Queens with their fundraising,” Ms Hale said.

"You would also do some community and social events like trivia night and markets, just to get out into the community.”

Looking ahead to this year as Junior Princess, Ms Hales plans to be involved in the community with her fellow Sunflower royalty.

"We all go to events together like we did on Anzac Day, so there will be more group appearances in the future,” Ms Hales said.