Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM It's a good thing Lauren Ross loves peaches, or her title as the 2007 Peach Queen might not work out.
This fall, Ross will be entering Minnechaug Regional High School as a senior. She remembers always going to the Peach Festival as a child, and she also remembers how some of her babysitters had run for the title of Peach Queen.
"I was interested in it," she said, "and my mom wanted me to do it, too."
To run for Peach Queen, young women must either live in Wilbraham or attend Minnechaug. Ross estimated that about 15 girls ran for the title this year.
Patti Diotalevi, chairwoman of the Peach Pageant, said that this is the 22nd pageant for Peach Queen.
The Queen is decided by a pageant that includes a formal evening gown walk-in, a written and memorized speech presented by each of the entrants as well as interviews of each contestant by the judges. During their introduction, each young woman also has to state her ambitions for the future.
Ross' ambition is to become a doctor. "I would love to work in a hospital," she said. "I've job-shadowed at Baystate and I loved it. You're always presented with new challenges and you're always meeting new people." She's currently looking at smaller schools in New England with pre-med programs.
Why New England? "I love to ski," Ross admitted. Last year, she was captain of Minnechaug's ski team.
Ross does a lot more, too. She works on food preparation at Spoleto's Restaurant in East Longmeadow and plays lacrosse at school. She and her advanced placement biology class are also working on a research project and hope to publish their findings sometime this fall.
Crowned on June 23, Ross has some very important duties to perform as Peach Queen. On Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. she'll be reading stories to children ages three and up at the Wilbraham Public Library during the Peach Queen Storytime. The stories she'll be reading are about queens and other such royalty. Registration for the event begins Aug. 4. Call the Children's Department at 596-6141 for more information or log onto www.wilbrahamlibrary.org.
When the Peach Festival begins Aug. 17, Ross and the rest of the Peach Court will ride in the parade. She'll also start the road race the morning of Aug. 19.
So what happens after Ross becomes a successful doctor and finds a place of her own? "I'll come back for the Peach Festival in the future," she said.