Autumn Gare, daughter of Joshua and Linda Gare of Montgomery, was crowned the new Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota at the 30th Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota Pageant, held Saturday at the Montgomery Legion.

Meghan Domonoske, daughter of David and Amy (Smisek) Domonoske, of Waterville, was crowned princess.

“My heritage means a lot to me,” Gare said. “I don’t only want to be an ambassador for the Czech and Slovak heritage, but I would also love to be a role model for the young children. The youth are our future.”

Gare is a graduate of Tri-City United High School and currently a student at South Central College where she studies child development.

Domonoske is a graduate of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown High School and South Dakota State University. She is an agriculture research technician supervisor for Betaseed Inc., of Bloomington.

The two, the only 2019 contestants, were judged on talent/performance, ethnic folk dress, on-stage and off-stage interviews, poise and appearance.

Performing and singing in a musical skit of her family history — from the Old Country to a farm near Waterville — Gare also took home the Talent Award. For her behind the scenes and on-stage interview, she earned the Oratory Award. For her enthusiasm for her ancestral background, she won the Heritage Award as well as the Stella Vlasak Spirit Award.

Vlasak was president of the pageant’s board of directors up to her death at age 88 back in May 2017.

Domonoske, whose talent was a speech about the range of products made with pork, earned the Kroj Award. A kroj (plural kroje) is a folk costume (in this case a dress) worn by Czechs and Slovaks.

New this year, six Junior Ambassadors, ages 11-15, were also crowned: Alenka Jans, daughter of Andy and Anne (Smisek) Jans, Megan Marek, daughter of William and Cheryl Marek, Mikayla Marek, daughter of William and Cheryl Marek, Kristin Siebsen, daugther of Tim and Jesse Siebsen, Grace Tumasmith, daughter of Chris and Mary Anna Tumasmith and Juliann Will, daughter of Jeffrey and Constance Will.

This was not the first Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota Pageant for Gare. She was crowned Miss Congeniality in 2016 and then became Princess two months later when Princess Madison Jerde stepped down. Her sister, Bailey Gare, was the 2017 Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota.

Contestants in Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota pageant have the opportunity to receive over $1000 in cash and prizes. Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 26 and must be at least part Czech, Slovak or Moravian decent.

Gare will go on to compete in the Miss Czech Slovak USA pageant, to be held in Wilber, Nebraska Aug. 3 and 4.

Punctuating the pageant with his signature jokes Steve Flicek was the emcee. Heather Vikla, of Lonsdale, who still holds her position as Miss Czech Slovak USA 2nd runner-up, was the outgoing queen.

Northfield News and Faribault Daily News reporter. Email at Call at 507-333-3132.

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