TYLER, Texas (KETK)- Preparations for the Texas Rose Festival are back in full swing after it was canceled for the second time in history. The first time this happened was in World War II.
The extra year didn’t go to waste for the 87th and 88th Rose Queen Anna Grace Hallmark.
“At first I was kind of bummed, but it was really fun last year because we got to go and serve the community and do a lot of community service. That was really eye opening and a good experience,” said Hallmark.
The 20 year-old added, she grew up dreaming about the title, never imagining it would be possible.
She is the first queen in her family, but participating in the festival has been a family tradition.
“It’s crazy. I was so surprised. I was not expecting it at all. I’m really excited about it though,” said Hallmark with a big smile.
Her family has been supporting her through the whole process. Hallmark’s grandmother mentioned she’s noticed a transformation and couldn’t be more proud.
“I’ve watched her grow up so much because she was put on the edge of her comfort zone with all this speaking she has to do. Wow she’s came through it so well, and I think it’s changed kind of where she wants to go with her life,” said Celia Flowers Bates about her granddaughter.
As for the Rose Queen’s famous dress, that’s top secret for now. But, Hallmark’s family did share the meaning behind the design.
“What it is, is a tribute to other people and not to herself and a tribute to a friend of hers,” added Flowers Bates.
This year, the theme for the festival is Secrets of the Garden. The event is quickly approaching, and reality is sinking in for the queen.
“I am nervous. I’m nervous for the coronation, but I’m excited,” said Hallmark.
On top of being Rose Queen, Hallmark is also a full-time college student. She is studying business and plans on going to law school.