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SELMA – Simran Sahota was announced as the 2019 Raisin Festival Queen during a Coronation Ceremony May 3 that featured special appearances from previous Raisin Royalty. The Queens from previous years were invited especially for the Festival’s 40th Anniversary.

“Serving as Raisin Royalty is not an easy job,” Selma District Chamber of Commerce Director Bob Allen said. The Chamber sponsors the event. “You can ask anyone back there,” he said of the previous year’s visiting Queens, “but it’s an opportunity to get out in the community and learn and meet new people. I love working with all of them since they’re such positive influences.”

Sahota thanked candidates second runner-up Gregoria Avila, who was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Selma, and first runner-up Alyssa Regalado, who was sponsored by the Central Valley Lioness Lions Club, for running as the process of networking to sell the most amount of tickets to win the title is challenging.

“Both of them took up the courage to run in this competition and their hard work and drive to help the city really shows how talented both of you really are.”

Sahota said she recalls dressing up, wearing a bonnet pretending she was Sun-Maid girl as she passed out raisins to her family. Now that’s she’s actually the Raisin Queen, she’s eager to step into her role and take on the responsibility of representing the City of Selma in a number of events throughout the year.

“Being here tonight as the real Raisin Queen is really remarkable. I look forward to a great year of making many memories so thank you.”

Afterward the ceremony, 2018 Queen Alyna Esquivel let Sahota know that although it’s a full schedule of activities, it is a fun responsibility but they year does fly by.

“Have fun. It goes by really fast so enjoy it. You’re going to meet some many people. With everything you do, put everything you have into it,” Esquivel advised her.

Sahota said she didn’t know much about what was involved with being the Raisin Festival Queen, but once she looked into, she saw it as “an opportunity to find myself in the community, get more involved and interact with individuals in the community more. I see it as a way to learn more about myself through the experience.”

Sahota said since her long-range plan is to return to Selma to serve the community, she’s eager to learn more about how the City functions so she can find her place in it in the future.

“I plan to come back to serve here in the community so I can build connections earlier on and meet some really remarkable individuals that help the community. I’d like to be a part of that someday.”

Outgoing Queen Esquivel said after meeting so many people throughout the year, she’s grateful for the support from her sponsors, the Selma Rotary Club, Bob and Mary Allen of the Selma Chamber and her family for their backing.

“My advice would be to represent the City with all of your heart. It goes by really fast so have fun and enjoy every minute of it. We’re all very proud of you.”

Allen noted that the earlier queens wore similar crowns since those were made by the same company. That company went out of business and since then, Selma’s Harold Phillips with Martin Jewelers has created each crown.

“We now award a different crown each year so there’s a little history lesson,” Allen said.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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