It’s been three years since the City of Nogales has held its Fiestas de Mayo/Fiesta de Flores, which means three years since the crowning of new fiesta queens and princesses.

With the event set to return in 2022, a large crowd gathered at City Hall on April 19 for the presentation of the fiesta queen candidates, who arrived in style in a motorcade of decorated vehicles.

As part of the festivities planned for Saturday, April 30, two girls will be chosen at random to be queen – one teenager, one younger child – and two more will be selected as princesses. They’ll then represent the city at various events during the following year.

“The fiestas are going to be really nice, and we hope everyone has a good time,” Mayor Arturo Garino told the attendees at Tuesday’s event. “And we hope that the queens that win, the queens that continue on, do the best they can to represent our city for the year.”

The Fiestas de Mayo/Fiesta de Flores is organized by the Cultural Arts Committee.

“What this is all about is presenting our traditions to all of you,” committee member Amelia Melendez told the audience, noting that the local fiesta queen pageant started in Nogales, Sonora, with binational participation.

Melendez said that she and her sister – City Councilwoman Esther Melendez-Lopez – have been involved in the tradition because their mother was once the queen of the Fiestas de Mayo.

“And we like it,” she said. “We need to continue with nice traditions like this one.”

The candidates for 2022 fiesta queen each took turns introducing themselves to the crowd. They are:

Yarelli Abril, a 17-year-old Nogales High School student; Michelle Covarrubias, also a 17-year-old Nogales High School student; Mia Richardson, an 18-year-old student at Rio Rico High School; and Paulette Romo, a 19-year-old student at Aveda Institute in Tucson.

The younger candidates in the running for “mini” queen and princess are:

Nichole Andrea Diaz, Camila Hernandez and Kassandra Rivera, all 9-year-old students at Coronado Elementary School; and Kimberly Soul Williams, a 7-year-old student at Tres Rio Academy in Phoenix.

They were joined at Tuesday’s event by 2019 Fiesta Queen Maria Isabel Lizarraga Valenzuela, 2019 Mini-Queen Yizelle Rivero and 2019 Mini-Princess Camila Chavez, who each expressed gratitude for their experiences as fiestas royalty.

“I am happy that I joined and I hope these girls are happy like me,” said Chavez, a 9-year-old Coronado student.

Deborah Ashley Acuña, reigning fiesta queen in Nogales, Sonora and current student at Pima Community College, also took part in the event.

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