Sunflower Queen runner-up Hayley Henson with winner Amy Spannagle.
Sunflower Queen runner-up Hayley Henson with winner Amy Spannagle. Robyn Esser

Amy crowned Sunflower Queen

MEET the new Central Highlands Sunflower Queen, a 19-year-old pharmacy assistant who won herself the trip of a lifetime to represent Emerald in our Canadian sister town, Altona.

A shell-shocked Amy Spannagle was crowned queen of the 2011 festival in front of a large crowd at Pioneer Park on Saturday, following the street parade.

The Highlands resident of more than 15 years said she was coaxed into entering the competition by work colleagues and never in a million years thought she would win.

“It was exciting, nerve-wracking and overwhelming all at the same time,” she said.

“It took me by such surprise when they announced my name.

“I said ‘no, not me, it’s definitely not me’ and then I had to pinch myself when I realised that it was.”

The top prize in the competition was a trip to Altona, Canada, where Amy will attend the Canadian sister city’s sunflower festival to represent Emerald and the Central Highlands.

“I’ve been to New Zealand, but never that far,” Amy said.

“We have to be there in July for the ceremony, I’ll definitely take my mum and dad along, plus my younger sister and my boyfriend,” she said.

Amy said she had a fantastic day for the crowning ceremony which was shared by all who attended. She said events like the Sunflower Festival rebuilt community spirit after the devastating affects of flooding.

“I was not affected by the floods, so I wanted to help those who were and I thought this would be a great way to raise some money,” she said.

Each entrant nominated a charity to raise money for and runner-up Hayley Henson was crowned Highest Fundraiser Queen and helped the Royal Queensland Bush Children’s Health Scheme, otherwise known as Bush Kids.

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