Monday, July 19th, 2021
Royalty takes the stage at Lake Festival
By Sydney Albert
2021 Miss Lake Festival Outstanding Teen Caitlin Cramer, left, 2020 Miss Lake Fe. . .
CELINA - St. Henry native Rachel Werling was crowned 2021 Miss Lake Festival Sunday evening, winning the scholarship competition against the beautiful backdrop of Grand Lake.
Werling, 18, shared the stage at Harley C. Jones Memorial Rotary Ampitheater with seven other Miss Lake Festival contestants, as well as the sole Miss Lake Festival Outstanding Teen contestant, Caitlin Cramer, 16, Celina.
Werling is the daughter of Michael and Julie Werling and will be a freshman at Wright State University-Lake Campus in the upcoming school year majoring in early childhood education and minoring in theater and music. As the winner, she received a $3,000 scholarship. She also took home the interview award, which awards a $400 scholarship.
Contestants participate in a private interview prior to the program and answer an onstage question. Prior to answering their onstage question, each contestant had a chance to discuss their chosen social impact initiative.
Werling's platform was "Heart to Heart to Heart: Promoting Adoption." When asked what should be done about recent increases in gun violence, she said stricter gun laws could help to curb the troubling trend, and that more gun control laws should be put in place.
For her talent, Werling sang an entertaining rendition of "To Keep My Love Alive," a song about someone taking their weddings vows of "till death do us part" a little too seriously. Pulling a knife from out of her dress during the song as she sweetly sang about killing past loves, her routine earned laughs and applause.
In the evening wear portion, she wore a dark navy blue dress with a deep v-cut and sequins glimmering down the bodice like stars on a dark night.
First runner-up and winner of a $1,500 scholarship was Rianne Daniel, 19, Celina. She is the daughter of Sean Daniel and Christen Huttis, and her platform was "STEM for the Ages: Empowering the Brains of Our Youth with Science." During the evening wear portion, she wore a black dress which had a train, a deep v-cut and lace bodice and sleeves, accessorizing with black hoop earrings. She also took home the talent award, with a $400 scholarship for singing "A Journey to the Past" from the motion picture Anastasia.
Contestant Alexis Brunswick, 17, Celina, was named second runner-up, which comes with a $1,000 scholarship. She also won the Commitment to Excellence award, which comes with a $400 scholarship. She is the daughter of Chad and Jennifer Brunswick.
Genoa Arling, 20, Minster, was given the Miss Congeniality Award, which is voted upon by the Miss Lake Festival contestants and the Lake Fest Committee. It comes with a $200 scholarship.
Other candidates were Gabrielle Posada, 21, Celina; Grace Etgen, 18, Celina; Makenzie Regedanz, 22, St. Marys; and Lauren Higgins, 18, Celina.
All non-finalists received a $400 award, and each candidate also received $200 from sponsors to cover the costs of the pageant or be used as additional scholarship money.
Miss Lake Festival 2019 and 2020 Kaycie Wissman and Miss Lake Festival Outstanding Teen for 2018-2020 Maleah Lee performed throughout the evening, and were assisted by Miss Ohio 2021 Lora Current.
Werling will reign over the annual Celina Lake Festival, and is eligible to compete in next year's Miss Ohio competition, which is part of the Miss America pageant.