NORTH WEBSTER - After being crowned the Queen of Lakes Saturday night during the 76th Mermaid Festival in North Webster, Jordan Hofmann’s thoughts turned to her late mother.
“It’s really unexpected for me. I’m very, very happy and I just know my mom is really proud of me,” she said with tears in her eyes. “I’m looking forward to my reign and being able to represent this festival and hopefully get the word out to other young women so they can have the opportunity as well.”
Hofmann, 20, of Andrews, competed as Miss Wawasee Lake for the 76th title of queen. Her sponsor was Johnson Tax Service. She is the daughter of David Hofmann and the late Ellen Hackett. She just completed her junior year at Purdue University Fort Wayne, with plans to graduate in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
First runner-up was Reagan Koble, Miss Webster Lake. Her sponsor was Davis Group Snyder Strategy Realty, North Webster.
Second runner-up was Jaela Faulkner, Miss Beaver Dam Lake. She was sponsored by Bourbon Lions Club, Bourbon.
Third runner-up was Chloe Bollinger, Miss James Lake, sponsored by Pierceton Masonic Lodge No. 377, Pierceton.
Corynn Barton, the 2021 Queen of Lakes, crowned and sashed the queen and her court as their names were called.
Judging for the Queen of Lakes Pageant is divided into interview, theme wear and formal gown. Interviews took place Saturday morning, with the theme wear and formal gown judged Saturday night in the North Webster Community Center.
Four finalists were chosen princesses for 2022. The queen was chosen from those four finalists after a final question. The winner holds the title of Queen of Lakes for one year. Scholarship prizes provided by The Shoop Sports and Youth Foundation Inc. are $2,000 to the queen; $1,500 to first runner-up; $1,000 to second runner-up; and $500 to third runner-up.
Shoop Sports and Youth Foundation also provides the Mermaid Festival Parade Queen’s Conveyance Parade Scholarship Awards. Bollinger won third place and $250; Koble won second place and $500; and Hofmann won first place and $750. Participation in the parade was required for each of the contestants.
The Community Service Award, which includes $100, is provided by the North Webster Lady Lions Club. The recipient was selected following a review of the community service information provided on the contestants’ applications. The North Webster Lions Club members view community service as very important. This year’s award went to Hofmann.
Hofmann has served as a volunteer for the Andrews Community Helpers for more than 10 years. Her mother was a founding member of the organization. They assist people in crisis and put on community events. Hofmann’s other volunteerism includes providing meals to the homeless with Blessed Portions Meal Ministries in Fort Wayne; helping with daily care of animals at the Huntington County Humane Shelter; and attending adoption outreach events.
The public at the pageant were able to vote on the People’s Choice Theme Wear Competition by placing money in buckets for each contestant. The woman who received the most money in her bucket won and got to keep half of the money, with the Lady Lions keeping half for community projects.
Erika Bugg, Miss Chapman Lake, won the People’s Choice Theme Wear contest. Her sponsor was Lake City Gymnastics, Warsaw.
Miss Congeniality was voted on by the pageant contestants, with the winner receiving $100 from the Lady Lions. Bugg also won that award.
Nine women competed in the queen pageant, with a 10th woman unexpectedly withdrawing.
Along with Faulkner, Koble, Bollinger, Hofmann and Bugg, the other contestants this year were: Hanna Fitzpatrick, Miss Winona Lake, sponsored by Aqua Systems of Warsaw; Janna Teusch, Miss Kuhn Lake, sponsored by Jill & Jennifer’s Salon of Styles, North Webster; Mikilah Wiggs, Miss Barbee Lake, sponsored by Dottie’s Soda Shop, North Webster; and Ella Collins, Miss Hidden Lake, sponsored by Mohawk Pier & Lift, North Webster and Syracuse.
The theme for this year’s pageant was “Through the Years ... The Great Outdoors.”