In its rich 79-year history, Deltarado Days has changed. Some events have gone by the wayside.
New favorites have begun. What hasn’t changed is the spirit of celebrating family and community.
One piece of Deltarado Days that the planning committee is proud to have resurrected this year is the crowning of festival royalty.
In the early 1950s, the festival committee began crowning a Deltarado Days queen. In 1952, instead of a queen, a Miss Delta was named. After the late 1950s, that part of the celebration was forgotten.
This year, instead of naming a Miss Delta or a queen, the committee instead chose to turn this into a scholarship opportunity for a deserving Delta girl and boy.
“So many of our local businesses and Chamber members already give generously to Delta County students,” said Kami Collins, the executive director of the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce. “But this was an opportunity for the business community to come together as one and show our support for local kids.”
Darnell Place-Wise from KRYD JackFM and a Deltarado Days planning committee member spearheaded the scholarship process with the help of counselors at Delta High School. “The chamber isn’t just about business, it’s about community,” Darnell said. “And being part of this amazing community means giving back.”
As a part of the required essay, students were asked to specify what contributions they have made to the community. They were also asked to detail how involved they were at school. Academic success and financial need was also considered.
The scholarship committee selected Hailey Santonastaso and Nate Ballard as the 2014 Deltarado Days queen and king. Hailey and Nate will be seen in the Deltarado Days parade on Saturday, July 19, at 9 a.m. Then, at noon in Cleland Park, the two will be crowned and presented with their $500 scholarship checks.
Hailey is the daughter of Robin Lyon and Mike Santonastaso. She plans to study psychology, art and leadership at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Nate is the son of Sheila and Nathan Ballard. He plans to study mechanical engineering at Colorado Mesa University this fall.
“Hailey and Nate are great kids and are absolutely deserving,” Darnell said. “It feels great that the Deltarado Days committee is able to help them.”
Deltarado Days takes place July 17-20. A full schedule of events is available online at www.DeltaColorado.org under the Events tab.