2021 Sully County Junior Snow Queen Lilly Paxton 1st Runner Up South Dakota Junior Snow Queen

For 2021 Sully County Junior Snow Queen Lilly Paxton, the first weekend of the South Dakota Snow Queen Festival in Aberdeen was “really fun.”

“I got to meet a lot of new girls from all over the state,” said Lilly. “Amazing girls who made me feel comfortable and welcome. We were all really nervous, but we calmed each other down. We were a big happy group, and we connected well.”

Interviews, yoga, and an Aberdeen Wings hockey game were on the itinerary for the pageant weekend.

Lilly says that the festival weekend started with breakfast with all the candidates and their parents.

Time was also spent in rehearsals, and during the Queen’s Banquet, each candidate was asked the same question.

“We were asked, ‘if you could bring anyone anywhere in South Dakota, where would you choose?’” said Lilly. “I said Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills because I like the Black Hills and its history and culture.”

During the coronation, the candidates appeared before the audience in less formal attire when they introduced themselves. “I was so nervous.”

She also had to share a historical fact about the South Dakota Snow Queen Festival. “Mine was ‘The 1977 Snow Queen was the first to keep her crown,’” since prior queens passed their crown along to the next Snow Queen.

Later, the candidates changed into formal gowns, and they were asked a ‘fishbowl question.’

“We each drew a question out of a fishbowl,” Lilly explains. “Mine was to name a book title that represents your life. I said ‘My Crazy Life’ because of all the ups and downs in my life. It’s like a roller coaster, and I’m here for the ride.”

The coronation program culminated with 2020 South Dakota Junior Snow Queen Annika Estwick making a speech to close her reign, the announcement of Miss Congeniality, and finally the coronation of the 2021 South Dakota Junior Snow Queen Olivia Hadrick of Faukton, starting with the 4th runner-up.

“We actually grew pretty close,” said Lilly of her friendship with Olivia. “We were joking about ‘if I win,’ and I was named 1st runner-up and she actually won.”

“Just getting to be there and getting to be more confident was gift enough. I really want to thank my sponsor, the Sully County Active Group, for supporting me in going to Snow Queen,” said Lilly. “To win 1st runner-up was absolutely amazing.”