Taylor crowned as Queen Maple
Queen Maple LXV Hannah Taylor (middle) stands with 1st runner up Jordan Noble (left) and 2nd runner up Nicole Yoder (right). (Philip Petrunak)
The North Star High School student's dream became reality Saturday night after being crowned Queen Maple LXV. Taylor, daughter of Gretchen and Scott Brant, said she's dreamt of being Maple Queen since she was a little girl.
"I am ecstatic, it's definitely a surreal moment," she said. "I'm so honored to be part of such a great tradition."
Taylor's mother Gretchen was glowing after her daughter was announced winner.
"It's awesome and very well deserved," she said. "She's very humble, and I'm just so proud of her. She's achieved everything through prayer and faith in God."
Jordan Noble, a student at Meyersdale Area High School, and Nicole Yoder, a student at Salisbury-Elk Lick High School, were named the first and second runners up.
A brief power outage caused a minor kink at the start of the talent competition. The outage came midway through a dance performance by Alyson Pritts of Meyersdale Area High School. She collected herself and completed the routine on a high note once the power resumed.
Taylor performed a vocal solo titled "Famous in a Small Town," for her talent. She not only wowed the crowd with her singing, but she also drew applause for her response during the question period. She was asked what or who she finds most fascinating.
"I find television shows like 'Jersey Shore' funny," she said. "How can people like that get paid so much money for acting so silly?"
When asked to give advice to young Amelia Kretchen, 6, during the second part of the question-and-answer period, Taylor bent down and told Kretchen to stay true to herself.
"Stay focused on being a good person on the inside because that's what you're truly supposed to be," Taylor said.
Noble, the daughter of Gary and Tracey Noble of Garrett, offered a vocal solo of "Journey to the Past."
Yoder, the daughter of Lori and Eric Yoder, got the crowd laughing with a comedic monologue titled "The Replacement Caddy."
Alicia Morgan of Meyersdale Area High School and Gabrielle Noss of Somerset Area High School rounded out the top five.
Taylor was awarded the promenade award and she was also the top-scoring performer in the talent competition. The Nancy Beamer Memorial Interview Award was given to Noble.
Jennifer Johnson of Rockwood Area High School received the Miss Congeniality Award. Noble and Yoder tied for the Maple Wisdom Award.
Taylor was crowned by Queen Maple LXIV Eden Bertuzzi, who performed a vocal solo titled "Home," for her talent. She told the crowd during her final speech that being Maple Queen has been one of the best experiences of her life.
Queen Maple reins over the Pennsylvania Maple Festival starting March 24 in Meyersdale. She also represents the maple industry throughout the year.