Olivia Hale’s lifelong dream will come true at this year’s Swedish Festival.
The 17-year-old Kingsburg High School junior will be crowned Swedish Festival Queen 2022 on Thursday, May 19.
“It’s just being able to represent the city, being able to show that I’m part of this city too and put my name there,” Hale said of why she’s watched the crown for almost her entire life.
Hale first performed at the annual festival as a dancer at the age of 3 as part of the Svenska Kids Musik Club, a children’s Scandinavian folk dance group that performs annually at the Swedish Festival.
“I just fell in love,” Hale said. “I love the city, it’s so beautiful.”
Since that first time, Hale has followed her traditional Swedish, Danish and Norwegian dances. Not only has she danced at every Swedish festival since her first, but she dances several times a year at various events in the community. With the Fresno Danish Dancers, she dances at local senior centers during the holidays as well as at the annual Clovis Fest. She also dances as part of the annual Santa Lucia celebration and parade in Kingsburg.
Hale found out she would be the next queen last month.
“It moved me that I finally got it,” she said. “It was really touching for me.”
The Swedish festival queen is crowned at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19 after the pancake and pea soup dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. Hale will then dance throughout the festivities for the next two days.
After that, Hale will represent the city in different ways. As Queen, she will attend ribbon cuttings, participate in parades, and perform other functions befitting festival royalty.
Hale already has a stacked schedule, as the high school student is a drum major in the KHS Marching Band and Wind Ensemble, as well as a member of the Jazz Band, Jazz Choir – and she’s on the track team.
How does Hale find time for so many activities?
“Honestly, I don’t know,” she laughed.
After high school, she wants to study both music and biology, hoping to find a career at the zoo.
The Swedish festival runs May 19-21 in downtown Kingsburg. For more information, visit www.kingsburgchamber.com/ or call 559-897-1111.