Karen Gallegos crowned queen of the Lorain International Festival 2022 – Morning Journal

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For the first time in three years, the Lorain International Festival is in full swing.

Alongside the Lorain International Festival itself, the Princess Pageant returned June 23 to Lorain High School with Mexican Princess Karen Gallegos crowned Queen of 2022.

“I’ve been preparing for this moment all my life,” Gallegos, 16, said after winning the crown. “And it’s so crazy for me that I’m here right now, because I feel like last week I was at orientation, completely overwhelmed with a huge list of things that I had to get and do for this contest.

“But I’m really proud to be able to represent my Mexican culture and for my family in Mexico, who can’t be here today.”

Gallegos, who attends Lorain High, is a first-generation Mexican-American and was sponsored by Hola Ohio, a Painesville-based nonprofit with a mission to improve quality of life opportunities and empower the community. Latin America through outreach, education, civic engagement, entrepreneurship and skills development.

She is the daughter of Anahi Garcia and Jaime Gallegos.

Gallegos said she has wanted to represent her culture since she was a little girl.

“My Mexican culture is a big part of me that has led me to many amazing and beautiful experiences, including being part of the Lorain International Festival,” she said.

Alongside the Gallegos receiving wreaths were Puerto Rican Princess Sariana Rivera, first runner-up; Mexican Princess Jasmine Alyssa Jacinto Candelario, second runner-up; and Irish Princess Mikenna Caroline Folley, third runner-up.

“I think it means a lot to the community we’re in to have this win and represent them all year,” said 19-year-old Jacinto Candelario, whose Mexican heritage is in the spotlight this year at the Lorain International Festival.

Folley, 18, said this win was a bit more personal and more bittersweet than some.

“My best friend and I were supposed to run together, but she passed away in October,” Folley said with tears in her eyes. “I feel like I won for her and I did this for her.

“I even sang for her, which was terrible, but that was it for her.”

Filipino Princess Hannah Mellan Macababa said she only had one thing to say to a young girl.

“Believe in yourself,” Macababa, 21, said. “Be proud of your color and your culture.

“Anyone can be a princess.”

Members of the Queen’s Court will receive scholarships from sponsor First Federal Savings of Lorain.

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