Twenty-three contestants competed to be this year’s Chicopee Colleen and only one young lady was crowned Colleen Saturday night.
The annual tradition is one of the largest and most anticipated social events of the year.
“It’s a very important event for the city and it celebrates our Irish heritage which is alive and well in the city,” said Joshua Clark of the Chicopee St. Patrick’s Parade Committee. “And it gives the girl an opportunity to really learn some skills they could use in high school and beyond.”
Each year, young women compete to be in the Chicopee St. Patrick’s Parade Committee’s Colleen and her court all for the opportunity to represent their city in the upcoming Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade.
This year’s contestants range from age 17 to 20, attending either Chicopee High, Chicopee Comp, or Holyoke Community College.
“So many of these girls have grown up watching the parade and they love going every year,” Mary O’Brien Rodowicz, Chicopee St. Patrick’s Parade Committee president told 22News. “They’ve seen it on TV, they’ve actually gone and watched it, and so this is an event where they can come and kind of be presented to the community as Chicopee’s finest young women.”
Contestants participate in a month-long process to be crowned the Colleen and Saturday night was the night to impress the judges.
“We are looking for confidence,” said Tammy Crochiere, Colleen Contest judge. “We had the first round of questions last week and some of these girls are so confident, so we look for the one that… they’re not afraid to speak in front of people because they’re going to be doing a lot of that.”
The 2019 Chicopee Colleen is Madison Hartling of Chicopee High School.