Hannah Horton, Editor-in-Chief
Apache Belles Dance Captain Amanda Hiles is the first Rose Queen in the Texas Rose Festival’s 85-year history to attend Tyler Junior College.
The Texas Rose Festival is an annual event that was established in 1933 in honor of the Tyler rose industry. Each year, a college sophomore from Tyler is selected to serve as the Rose Queen. The Queen presides over Festival events with the other members of the Rose Court, which includes the Duchess of the Rose Growers, duchesses from other towns, ladies-in-waiting from Tyler, and attendants to the queen.
Hiles’s family has been involved with the Rose Festival for generations. “My grandmother, Ann Hardin, [volunteered] for the Coronation and the Queen’s Tea. My grandfather, James Hardin, has been a member of the Order of the Rose for decades. My mother, Stacey Hardin Hiles, was a Lady-in-Waiting in 1986, and my aunt, Kristie Arnette [née Hardin], was the Rose Queen in 1992,” said Hiles.
Hiles first learned she had been chosen as Queen last November with her Apache Belle teammates. “The 70th and 71st line of Apache Belles were asked to arrive at practice in full hair, makeup, and Apache Belles attire,” explained Hiles. “[Apache Belles Director Jasilyn Schaefer] told the team we had a press conference about our spectacular Homecoming performance from the previous week. When [Texas Rose Festival President] Brad Curtis walked into the room, I knew it had to be related to Rose Festival … When my family walked in after Mr. Curtis, I knew his visit had something to do with me. I never expected that he would ask me to be the Rose Festival Queen … Being asked to be Queen was such a special moment, and sharing that with my team made it even more special.”
Hiles is delighted to have the opportunity to be the first TJC student to act as Rose Queen. “It is such an honor to be the first Queen from Tyler Junior College,” stated Hiles. “Most girls that participate in the Rose Festival leave town to attend college … Hopefully, having a Texas Rose Festival Queen attending TJC will remind everyone how lucky we are to have such a great school in our community.”
The 85th Texas Rose Festival will take place from Oct. 18-21, 2018. This year’s Festival theme is “Rock the Rose.” Events include the Rose Festival Coronation at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the Cowan Center, the Texas Rose Festival Parade at 9 a.m. on Oct. 20, and the Queen’s Tea at 1 p.m. on Oct. 20 in the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden. A full list of events is available at www.texasrosefestival.com.