Mermaid Festival Crowns New Queen

Kayla Courtney, 2013 Mermaid Queen of Lakes is shown with her court Kiersten Bailey, Morgan Kleppe and Tina Maciaga

Kayla Courtney, 2013 Mermaid Queen of Lakes is shown with her court Kiersten Bailey, Morgan Kleppe and Tina Maciaga

Miss Waubee Lake, Kayla Courtney, wears the Queen of Lakes crown after winning the competition earlier Saturday evening at the North Webster Community Center.

The 20-year-old Syracuse resident exuded poise and composure as she modeled a dark blue evening gown for the formal wear portion of the evening. During the final question, she told the judges and the audience that she felt her greatest achievement was recovering almost completely from after a serious car accident that occurred in 2009.

Courtney is the daughter of Paul and Jeanette Courtney. She is currently a sophomore at Indiana University in Bloomington and is majoring in biology. She was selected to receive the title from a field of 18 contestants, and will represent the festival in the stead of 2012 Queen of Lakes Kristin Quick of Warsaw.

Joining Courtney as members of the Princess Court were first runner up Kiersten Bailey of Uniondale, Miss Little Tippy; second runner-up Morgan Kleppe of Whiteland, Miss Webster Lake; and third runner-up Tina Maciaga of Alsip, Ill., Miss Cedar Lake.

Several other awards were also presented during the evening. The Miss Congeniality Award and the Community Service Award both went to Erica Ksiezopolski of Claypool, representing Golden Lake. The North Webster Mermaid Festival Parade float winners were Courtney, third place; Aarika Olenik, Crown Point, Miss Ridinger Lake, second place; and Bailey, first place. Each parade float winner received a cash prize.

The queen and each member of her court take home scholarship money with which they can further their educational goals. Courtney will receive $2,000; Bailey, $1,500; Kleppe, $1,000; and Maciaga, $500.

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