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Holyoke Crowns 2013 Grand Colleen

GRAND COLLEENHOLYOKE, Mass (WGGB) — With just a few weeks left before the big St. Patrick’s Day parade in Holyoke, the paper city played host tonight to the annual Grand Colleen Coronation Ball.

For the five finalists of the 2013 Grand Colleen pageant, Saturday night at the Log Cabin was the final step towards royalty.

Each was hoping for the luck of the Irish to be crowned this year’s Grand Colleen and represent Holyoke in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“She’s a role model to all the younger girls, said Saint Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke Chairperson Kathy Krisak. “When she goes to visit the schools and just sits there and talks the younger kids it’s just so much enjoyment. We have them go to the nursing homes and visit with the elderly. Smiles on everybody’s faces just to see them. It’s just a joy that this girl – young lady – brings to the city of Holyoke.”

Acting as mistress of ceremonies, ABC 40’s own Shannon Hegy. Her job… to keep the pageant moving and ask each contestant an interview question.

The five young women were judged on intelligence, personality, poise, and appearance. And it wasn’t easy – the judges taking quite a long time to make their decision.

“All 5 of these young women are actually very qualified to be a colleen this year. It is a lot for them to decide,” said Krisak.

Finally, the big moment… and coming out with the most points was Holyoke native and UMass Amherst student Brianna Gresh.

“Ever since I was little I used to play dress up Colleen with my cousin and it was just always a dream of mine to do the Colleen contest and obviously every little girl wants the crown so it feels amazing, “ said Gresh shortly after being crowned.

The other four young women, Lauren Dilisi, Kathleen Egan, Melissa Goulding, and Jessica Sweeney will also play important roles as the Grand Colleen’s Court.

Gresh, by the way, wins a scholarship and a trip for two to where else… Ireland.

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