Jennessa Runia is approaching the final week of her reign as 2013 Montevideo Royal Ambassador.
It's been a fun-filled year for the 20-year-old daughter of Julie and Kevin Rhode and Greg Runia, of Montevideo. Jennessa's year will come to a close as she participates in the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration and competes for the title of Queen of the Lakes.
At a time when many cities are having difficulty attracting young women to seek the titles of queens or ambassadors of their celebrations, Runia said she has looked forward to this past year since she was a young girl.
"Growing up I saw the Fiesta girls and thought they were such beautiful young women," said Runia. "I begged my mom to let me run for Junior Princess. I didn't get it, but I was still very interested in Fiesta."
Runia and Samantha VanBinsbergen were selected Montevideo's 2013 Fiesta Royal Ambassadors in June of 2012. This past March, Runia was notified that she would represent her city in the Queen of the Lakes pageant.
One of Runia's favorite events the past year was attending last year's Aquatennial Torchlight Parade.
Runia will leave for Minneapolis on Sunday for a hectic, but enjoyable week, capped by the Queen of the Lakes Coronation July 19 at 7 p.m. at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus.
Amanda Bertrand, 2011 Montevideo Fiesta Ambassador who was crowned Queen of the Lakes, and 2012 Fiesta Ambassador Shelby Monahan, who competed for the title last year, have both given Runia advice on what to expect during Aquatennial.
"Amanda talked to us when she was Queen of the Lakes. She gave us advice on posture — how to sit and stand — and how to have a conversation and how to come up with conversation starters," recalled Runia.
"I talked to Shelby about wardrobe and what to expect during the week."
Runia said she gained many new friendships during the past year, particularly with VanBinsbergen, her co-Ambassador.
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