The Early Beginnings

The Early Beginnings

Some time in 1933, a group of young women were escorted to the Green Theater in downtown Anoka to compete for the Miss Anoka title. Ed O’Connell, a local and prominent businessman, is said to have been in charge of the event, which during the days of the Depression, amounted to just one evening under the spotlight for one lucky young woman. The spotlight that evening in Anoka belonged to 17-year-old Ruth Herbold, the daughter of a minister and a nurse’s aide. In 1987, Ruth Herbold Moore fondly recalled that she and the other candidates ‘congregated at Green Theater, walked across the stage and that was about it, really.’ She doesn’t recall going to any parades or festivals. The only reminder she had was a loving cup in which Ruth’s name was inscribed along with Miss Anoka 1933. It’s a small silver cup resting on a plastic stand.

Because of the Depression and the war years Miss Anoka pageant did not take place until 1947 when her 6-year old daughter was crowned Miss Anoka 1947.

-Taken from a 1987 Article in The Anoka County Union


1930’s & 1940’s


Miss Anoka: Ruth Herbold Moore
Ruth married Fred Moore, who was a prominent businessman and school board president in 1935. Anoka’s middle school building was named after Fred Moore.


Miss Anoka: Julie Moore
Julie Moore, the daughter of Ruth (Herbold) and Fred Moore and was only 6 years old when selected.

No one made the connection that Ruth Herbold Moore had been Miss Anoka 1933 and she didn’t publicize it. The committee chose a king and a queen from each elementary school, and Miss Anoka was awarded a sash. Again, the Miss Anoka Pageant was put off until 1961 when Pam Albinson was selected in the summer.

There was no operating program for the years 1948-1960.




In 1961, Mr. & Mrs. Rex Erickson decided to bring back the Miss Anoka Contest after over a decade since the last choosing of a king and queen, when the contestants were elementary school students.


Miss Anoka: Pamela Jo Albsinson
Pam Albinson’s mother regularly had her hair done at the Powder Puff Beauty Shop in town where the shop owners were very good and kind to her family. She insisted that Pamela enter the Miss Anoka contest for the owners of the shop.

The Queen Coronation was held at Greenhaven Country Club in the summer of 1961. Clem Gruber was the Queen Committee Chairman and Ken Peterson was Master of Ceremonies. To Pamela’s surprise, she was crowned Miss Anoka from the 19 candidates. No princesses were crowned in this year. She left only a few weeks later to run for Minneapolis Queen of the Lakes where she was crowned the 1962 Queen of the Lakes!

Pamela Albinson’s homecoming included crowning her successor, Marilyn Roden.


Miss Anoka: Marilyn Roden
Marilyn fondly recalls in an article recruiting queen candidates in the paper, ‘The day Pam Albinson retired as Miss Anoka and placed the crown on my head was one of the proudest days of my life.’

Marilyn was also a candidate for the Queen on the Lakes program during the 1962 Aquatennial, which ran from July 12- July 20.


Miss Anoka: Mary Ann (Kohout) Schwalenberg
Princesses: Marilyn Potter  |  Mary Ellen Kemske
Left: Mary Ann is pictured with Mr. & Mrs. Erickson.

Right: Newspaper press release from after Mary Ann was crowned. The 1963 coronation ceremony was held on Tuesday, July 30.


Miss Anoka: Terrianne McNaughton
Princesses: Kathleen Carter  |  Kathy Landberg  |  Sharon Larrabee (In Memoriam)
Kathleen Carter filled out the term of Miss Sharon Larrabee when Sharon unexpectedly passed away during her reign.

1964 marked the first year the program had pictures of the candidates.

The program was held Tuesday, July 28, 1964.


Miss Anoka: Nancy Lyke Kneefe
Princesses: Cynthia Ann Holasz  |  Jill Brock
It’s unknown why Miss Anoka, Nancy (Lyke) Kneefe didn’t represent Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial. Instead, Cynthia Ann Holasz took her place.

A card was found that was sent from Cindy to the Ericksons, expressing gratitude for their support during Aquatennial. A photo of the float in the 1965 Minneapolis Aquatennial Grande Day Parade was found with Cindy named on the float as Miss Anoka and Nancy named on the float as a princess.


Miss Anoka: Nancy (Purcell) Anderson  |  Diane (Sather) Gramstad
Princesses: Mary Kay Wigdahl  |  Peggy Coleman
Nancy (Purcell) Anderson – Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess 1967

After Nancy was crowned an Aquatennial Princess she was welcomed home and crowned a new Miss Anoka, Diane. A new Anoka Princess was named, too, Peggy Coleman. Their new titles didn’t last long…only one day. The very next day the 1967 Anoka Royalty was selected.

Nancy was the first Anokan to wear the Aquatennial crown that is still used today.


Miss Anoka: Laura Olson
Princesses: Eileen Enge  |  Kathy Purcell


Miss Anoka: Diane Sanasac
Princesses: Kathy Mahany  |  Karen Brandell  |  Patti Danielson
Diane was crowned on July 25, 1967. This year also marked the first time a third princess was announced, Patricia Joy Danielson. Following policy, the judges always pick a third candidate to reign in the event any princess of the present royalty is unable to perform her duties. The committee this year decided to make it public. Princess Patti was an honored guest at Oktoberfest!

The decision was made this year that the Queen Coronation would be held in conjunction with Anoka Halloween Festivities, in October. Diane, Kathy, and Karen reigned over 1967 Anoka Halloween and 1968 Anoka Halloween. They crowned the 1969 royalty during the 1968 festival.


Miss Anoka: Annette St. Dennis  |  Cay Dunning
Princesses: Sally Bune  |  Mary Gallagher  |  Cindy Mealhouse
Annette St. Dennis – Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes 1970

Queen Annette received a $200 wardrobe, $100 scholarship, four days at the St. Paul Winter Carnival, and nine days at the Minneapolis Aquatennial. Princess Cay and Princess Sally each received $25 and a cosmetic kit.

When Annette became the Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes, Cay became Anoka’s new queen at a homecoming reception in Annette’s honor. It was reported that about 200 guests attended the reception. It was also at this event two new princesses were named and crowned, Mary Gallagher and Cindy Mealhouse. Cay, Mary, and Cindy reigned over the 1969 festival.

Mr. & Mrs. Erickson announced their retirement from starting up and building the program in 1961. The threat of the program ending was at risk as no one was stepping forward to take charge.

A newspaper clipping from June 27, 1969, states that the Miss Anoka Contest has been dropped after the decision was made by the Anoka Halloween, Inc. board of directors. Anoka Halloween asked the Chamber of Commerce to take over the program, but they declined. The article states that Mrs. Erickson thought, ‘…we would have more potential help, but if the business community does not care, why should we?’

We’re not sure if a coronation pageant took place this year. 1969 is the only year we are missing a program booklet from. We think Queen Cay retired and Mary Gallegher and Cindy Mealhouse continued on as the 1970 royalty.

If you know what happened during this time, please e-mail and share the story.



Miss Anoka: Mary Gallagher
Princesses: Cindy Mealhouse
Mary Gallagher and Cindy Mealhouse were crowned new princesses during a public reception in July to honor the newly crowned Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes 1970 and Miss Anoka 1969, Annette St. Dennis. We know Mary and Cindy reigned as princesses during the 1969 festival and we think they continued to represent Anoka in 1970. Records indicate Mary reigned as queen over the 1970 festival. There is a special note in the program booklet from Harold Foell, Anoka Halloween Chairman, giving special thanks to the Welcome Wagon Club of Anoka under the direction of Pat Hjort and her committee for making the program possible that year.

If you know the history of what happened during the years 1968-1970, please e-mail, and tell us the story.

The Dating Game (a popular dating show at the time) had a grand prize featuring a trip to the 1970 Anoka Halloween festival. The winning couple, Graciela Koppers & Steve Heimple, were welcomed to Anoka by hundreds of students and well-wishers when their helicopter landed at Goodrich Field. They were special guests at the coronation and were a part of both Halloween parades.


Miss Anoka: Marcia (Fisher) Brennan
Princesses: Debbie Liffrig  |  Dena Olstead
Marcia was named Minneapolis Aquatennial Congeniality


Miss Anoka: Becky (LeRoy) Schwen
Princesses: Chris (LaSalle) Sather  |  Peggy Taylor


Miss Anoka: Barbara (Klein) Johnson
Princesses: Lynanne McCrady  |  Vicki Frank


Miss Anoka: Joyce (Neumann) Anderstrom
Princesses: Mary Kay Ghostley  |  Patricia Guy
Karen Morrison, Miss U.S.A. was a special guest at the coronation.


Miss Anoka: Stephanie Harstad
Princesses: Elizabeth Dietz  |  Kim Podany
Miss Dominion of Canada, Deborah Tone, was a guest at the coronation.


Miss Anoka: Jean Hoogestraat
Princesses: Jayne Ubl  |  Jodie Raymaker
Miss U.S.A. 1976, Barbara Peterson was a special guest at the coronation.


Miss Anoka: Sharolyn (Frampton) Caplette  |  Kelly (Lundquist) Fenwick
Princesses: Colleen Hegarty  |  Kimberly Erickson
Sharolyn (Frampton) Caplette – Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes 1978

After Sharolyn was crowned Aquatennial’s Queen, Kelly became Anoka’s new Queen and a new Anoka Princess was announced.

Miss Dominion of Canada 1977, Jackie Dreher, was a special guest at the coronation.


Miss Anoka: Lynn Johana (Danz) Kaye
Princesses: Janae Foss  |  Lynn Marie Reiners
Miss Dominion of Canada 1978, Brigitte Hofmann, was a special guest at the coronation.


Miss Anoka: Susan Hammer
Princesses: Angela Kalkbrenner  |  Kay Mitteness
Miss Dominion of Canada 1979, Catherine MacKintosh, was a special guest at the coronation.



Miss Anoka: Holly (Lysdahl) Cotner
Princesses: Karen George  |  Karen Kind
The 1980 Royalty was very excited to debut their Halloween-themed float after riding on a pink and purple float for most of the summer. Karen George served as President of Anoka Halloween, Inc. in 2008 & 2009, and as a Minneapolis Aquatennial Captain in 2014.


Miss Anoka: Ronda (Olsbo) Anderson
Princesses: Charlene Bias  |  Teresa Burnham


Miss Anoka: Jolene (Leadens) Radermacher
Princesses: Pamela Mason  |  Shelly (Heinen) Ferris
Pamela was killed in a car accident during her reign. The decision was made not to replace her that year.


Miss Anoka: Polly Benson  |  Rhonda Sears
Princesses: Beth McArdle  |  Tamara Griffin
Polly Benson – Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess 1984

After Polly was crowned an Aquatennial Princess, Rhonda Sears was named Miss Anoka, and a new Anoka Princess was announced.


Miss Anoka: Tracey (Richards) Herold
Princesses: Debbie Dunn  |  Rochelle Struck


Miss Anoka: Julia (Cleath) Cox
Princesses: Carla Gustafson  |  Kari (Arthur) Carlson


Miss Anoka: Susan (Svitak) Carey
Princesses: Carrie (Erickson) Carlson  |  Kari (Smith) Rusert


Miss Anoka: Martha Weaver
Princesses: Maria Lindberg  |  Michelle Gustafson
In 1987, a Twin Cities-based Japanese business firm, Minne International Affairs, was impressed with Anoka’s Halloween celebration and invited Martha Weaver to Osaka and Kobe Japan as their guest to see how Halloween is celebrated in Japan. This began a nearly 10-year gift of international goodwill extended to Anoka Halloween, Inc. Ralph & Elaine Petter chaperoned Martha to Japan in 1988.


Miss Anoka: Melinda (Biers) Reeder
Princesses: Amy (Frampton) Berg  |  Colleen Wurm
Ron & Pat Ward chaperoned Melinda to Japan in 1989


Miss Anoka: Kristi (Bennecke) Parent
Princesses: Christine (Jones) Lindquist  |  Jennifer Schlueter
Kristi (Bennecke) Parent – Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess 1991

1989 marks the year when Anoka agreed to send their Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes Candidate after she had completed her reign with Anoka. Kristi completed her time with Anoka in October of 1989 and was a candidate for Queen of the Lakes in July of 1990 where she was crowned the 1991 Aquatennial Princess.

Jim & Carol Gerber chaperoned Kristi to Japan in 1990.



Miss Anoka: Kristin (Young) Harper
Princesses: Melanie Kalbow  |  Jennifer (Foss) Gilliland
Gill & Lois Dullinger chaperoned Kristin to Japan in 1991


Miss Anoka: Sheila Goepferd
Princesses: Connie (Jedneak) High  |  Mindy Kennen  |  Karla (Heinen) Anderla


Miss Anoka: Jennifer (Dock) Avilla
Princesses: Amy Mefford  |  Maggie Ward  |  Janelle Bittman
Jennifer (Dock) Avilla – Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess 1994
Sally & Ron Nordin chaperoned Jennifer to Japan in 1993.


Miss Anoka: Front: Jennifer (Barry) Kulm
Princesses: Molly Rowe  |  Kelly McCall  |  Lanise Olson
Joe & Diane Anderla chaperoned Jennifer to Japan in 1994.


Miss Anoka: Heidi (Rootes) Wold
Princesses: Andrea Scott  |  Christine Steinke |  Gretchen (Wagner) Nealon
Heidi Rootes got married after her reign. Gretchen Wagner represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes in the summer of 1995.

Marianne Muehlbauer and Linda Stuart-Julig chaperoned Gretchen to Japan in 1995.


Miss Anoka: Sara (LaDue) Narr
Princesses: Justine (Riley) Rapuano  | Erica Rose  |  Kimarr (Smith) Lee
Sara (LaDue) Narr – Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess 1997


Miss Anoka: Neysa (Olson) Silver
Princesses: Sarah (Foss) Stritesky  |  Tammy (Gray) Ramberg  |  Genny Emery
Maria & Tom Jenson chaperoned Neysa and Sara (1995) to Japan in 1997.

This was Anoka’s last trip to Japan


Miss Anoka: Nettie Pohlman
Princesses: Erin (Boelter) Dennie  |  Amy Smith
Amy represents Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes Program. Nettie left for Army Boot Camp shortly after crowning Christine (1998)


Miss Anoka: Christine Weber
Princesses: Lisa (Loyd) Hooper  |  Denise Hartley  |  Jessica (Grandell) Thomason


Miss Anoka: Laura (Rootes) Werk
Princesses: Beth Koppes  |  Lillian Stamper  |  Molly Prozinski
Laura and her sister, Heidi (1994), become the only sisters to both be crowned Miss Anoka



Miss Anoka: Jackie Herdzina
Princesses: Acacia (Mekosch) Sieling  |  Emily (Tenquist) Hunter


Miss Anoka: Amy (Krochalk) Ceglio
Ambassadors: Christine Johnson  |  Laura (Tkachenko) Nereson
Laura and her sister, Carrie (1986), were both crowned an Anoka Princess and selected as Miss Congeniality by their peers.

Heidi Wells steps away from running the program after five years. Sonja Weiler and Sharolyn Carlson take on the leadership role; they were young enough to be candidates with Amy, Christine and Laura.


Ambassadors: Crystal (Geist-Lindberg) Scott  |  Mariah (Albertson) Johnson  |  Kelli (Goodwin) Erickson
2002 marks the first year of the Anoka Royal Ambassador Program. Crystal, Mariah, & Kelli were the first group in Anoka’s history of royalty to reign as equally serving ambassadors.

Crystal represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2003.


Ambassadors: Athena Galvan  |  Katie (Greene) Greene-Schultz  |  Andrea Jennings
We knew it was time to think about a new float when it was riddled with issues during the year. A tire fell off the float in Silver Lake, there were at least 2 flat tires en route to parades, and the generator didn’t work at the Minneapolis Torchlight parade and Anoka’s Light-up-the-Night parade. This meant no lights and no music. At Anoka’s parade Athena, Katie, and Andrea rode with the candidates on their lit float.

Katie represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2004.


Ambassadors: Erinn (Britton) Weinmann  |  Kate (Sorenson) Bergseng  |  Megan Canny
The new float, built by Jim Rootes, Pat Minor, and Gary Munkholm, made its debut at the St. Francis Pioneer Days Parade. For the first few parades the ambassadors rode in a convertible loaned to us by Coon Rapids Chrysler. This was not only fun for them but also for Sharolyn and Sonja who drove the ambassadors through the parades.

Because of the low interest level of college-aged women, Anoka Halloween opened up the requirements to include female Anoka High School Seniors. The program ended up attracting 25 candidates for the 2004 festival.
Kate represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial


Ambassadors: Nichelle Hackert  |  Sarah (Beck-Esmay) Hoover  |  Christina (McSherry) Johnson
Nichelle Hackert – Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess 2007

Nichelle Hackert served as an Aquatennial Princess from January 2007-July 2007 after the Queen of the Lakes stepped down to serve her country in the National Guard. This was the first time in the history of Aquatennial that the alternate envelope was opened because an ambassador stepped down.


Ambassadors: Amy (Hastings) Skatula  |  Kristin (Benson) Hazeman  |  Tzvetelina Pramatarov
Tzvetelina Pramatarov- Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess 2008 & Minneapolis Aquatennial Miss Congeniality

Nichelle Hackert had the exciting task of crowning her friend at the Queen of the Lakes Coronation. An exciting moment for all in Anoka!


Ambassadors: Cassie Nigh  |  Jenny Regenscheid  |  Erin (Messer) Echternach
The festival of 2007 attracted 45 candidates, twice as many as the program attracted the year before!

In 2012, Jenny, stepped into a leadership role of running the Anoka Royal Ambassador Program.

Erin represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2008.


Ambassadors: Alyssa (Rogers) Erlandson  |  Janelle (Colstrom) Craft  |  Taryn Ladyka
Alyssa represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2009.


Ambassadors: Molly (Grailer) Walch  |  Jessica (Nordberg) Kankelfitz  |  Allie Skaalerud
The Anoka Royal Ambassador Program attracted a record number of candidates. The 2009 festival attracted 52 candidates who all went through the candidate program.

Molly represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2010.



Ambassadors: Chelsea Tulupan  |  Amanda (Funder) Benitez  |  Erin Hilliard
In 2012, Chelsea, stepped into a leadership role of running the Anoka Royal Ambassador Program. This same year Amanda’s sister, Katrina, was an ambassador.

Erin represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2011.


Ambassadors: Katelyn Regenscheid  |  Brenna (Morgan) Morey  |  Taylor Nelson
This year marked the last for the acting leadership of Sharolyn Carlson and Sonja Weiler.
Brenna represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2012.


Ambassadors: Lexi Bergevin  |  Katrina (Funder) Weight |  Becca (Jarson) Walker
This year marked the first year for the acting leadership of Jennifer Regenscheid and Chelsea Tulupan.
Lexi represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2013.


Ambassadors: Hailee (Gifford) Brush |  Anna (Walch) Horsch  |  Grace (Watson) Grittner
The Halloween marked another record candidate year, surpassing 2009’s 52 candidates by 10 candidates! 62 young women participated in the candidate program this year.

Hailee represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2014.


Ambassadors: Hannah Anderson  |  Emily (Keis) Sherman  |  Taylor (Fournier) Williams
Emily represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2015.


Ambassadors: Emma (Silbemagel) Port  | Maddy (Kirchen) Wieczorek |  Monica Sjodin
This marked the first year of acting leadership by Katrina Funder.


Ambassadors: Bri (Floding) Olson  |  Brianna (Lentner) Magnuson  |  Brooke Thonennes
This marked the last year of acting leadership for Katrina Funder and Chelsea Tulupan.


Ambassadors: Chloe Reimringer  |  Lauren (Springer) Sieben  |   Skylar Baranowski
Lauren represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2018.
This marked the first year of acting leadership for Megan Wells.


Ambassadors: Martha LaBine  |  Amber Watkins  |  Abby Haubner
Amber Watkins – 2021 Minneapolis Aquatennial Princess.

This marks the first year that the Miss Congeniality Award was changed to the Alexandra Award, in honor of Alexandra Skaalerud (2009).  Erica Tembreull was the first recipient.


Ambassadors: Abby Johnson  |  Lex Eix  |  Karlye Garrison
Alexandra Award recipient: Karlye Garrison

This marked the first year of acting leadership for Angie Springer.


2020 & 2021

Ambassadors: Emily Gabrielson  |  Kaitlyn Mateychuk |  Morgan Lindquist
Alexandra Award recipient: Morgan Lindquist

Morgan represented Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2022.


Ambassadors: Mallory Jones  |  Claire Tembreull |  Angelina Collins
Alexandra Award recipient: Claire Tembreull

Claire will represent Anoka at the Minneapolis Aquatennial in July of 2023.

This marked the last year of acting leadership for Angie Springer.