ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Since 1949, the Tulip Festival has also included the tradition of crowning the Tulip Queen. The five 2023 Tulip Queen finalists were part of a reception…the final step in the judging process. And then, on Saturday, it was announced that the new 2023 Tulip Queen is Olivia Owens.
Owens was among the dozens of hopefuls nominated for the crown based on their volunteer service and leadership skills. Her mother says she is very grateful that her daughter was a part of the whole experience.
“It’s an honor that someone would recognize her and her recognize her accomplishments,” Vanessa Owens said. “And I think she looks forward to the opportunities to give back to the community that has been her village for so long.”
Olivia is an Eagle Point Elementary School alumni, and she says she is excited to give back to the community she was raised in.
“I’m just in awe,” she said. “To be able to do this in front of my friends and in front of my family… It’s really a blessing.”
Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the opportunity has been successful because of how the program has helped others.
“We’ve seen Tulip Queen and Court members go on to become entrepreneurs, to head not-for-profits, to run businesses,” Mayor Sheehan said. “And I think in part it’s because of the exposure that they are able to get.”
Jadan Rivera is one of the Queen’s Court members and is the first wife and mother to be a part of the opportunity. She says that she is ready to be a part of creating literacy programs.
“To help them develop a love for reading and writing along with the rest of the court and the queen. So that’s really important to me,” Rivera said.
Sam Mills won the crown last year and is the first nonbinary tulip queen to be crowned. They say although a new Queen has been crowned, they still plan on volunteering.
“I think compassion and understanding are important in the world, and there is not enough of it,” they said. “So we need to show more people how to do that.”
For next year, the new Queen and Court members will be working as Educational Ambassadors for Albany. And Olivia says she is ready to start collaborating!
“A lot of us are super passionate about what we do, and we have so many different ideas,” she said. “I just wanna serve Albany.”