Meet the 2022 Queen of Snows candidates of the St. Paul Winter Carnival

·9 min read

Jan. 23—After a skipped year due to the pandemic, this year there are 20 candidates to wear the crown of Aurora, Queen of Snows of the 2022 St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Royal Coronation is 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, at the St. Paul RiverCentre. King Boreas, Aurora and the Princes and Princesses will be revealed. Ahead of coronation, here's a look at the Queen of Snows candidates:

Keyah Adams, 27, of Oakdale, sponsored by 5th Street Poker Parties. Adams, a Hopkins native, says she "followed her heart" to the east metro. She has a master's degree from the University of Minnesota in heritage studies and public history, with a focus in archaeological heritage. Adams is a cultural resource assistant at Mead & Hunt. In her free time, she enjoys laughing with family, collaborating as a coordinator for the Mainstreet Foundation, honing her photography skills and breaking a sweat in her new pursuit, mastering aerial skills.

Jayda Bagstad, 22, of Hopkins, sponsored by Mess Hall. Bagstad recently graduated from Hamline University with a bachelor's degree in criminology and criminal justice, with minors in social justice, legal studies and psychology. She currently works as a housing first advocate at Supportive Living Solutions. Bagstad, the 2019-2021 Hopkins Raspberry Festival Queen, represented Hopkins at the Minneapolis Aquatennial and was the recipient of the InSPIREation award. In her free time, she loves supporting other ambassador programs by attending parades and coronations.

Shannon Baier, 21, of Hudson, Wis., sponsored by Village Inn Sports Bar & Grill. Baier recently graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in business administration — marketing management. She is living her passion for serving children in need and using her degree to work in human resources for three schools. Baier and her sister are founders of a nonprofit organization, Blankets for a Brighter Day, which provides tie blankets to patients at Children's Minnesota — Minneapolis. She enjoys attending sporting events with her family and spending time with her puppy, Ernie.

Jen Baltes, 51, of West St. Paul, sponsored by F2 Strategy. Baltes, who is sponsored by her employer, provides consulting on change management, technology operations and project management. She has spent the last 12 years volunteering for West St. Paul Days. Her family includes her husband, Dan, and children, Zach and Mina. She loves working with the community and giving to others.

Effie Barnes, 27, of St. Paul, sponsored by LCS Company. Barnes was born and raised in Farmington. She graduated from Hamline University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in creative writing and is currently finishing her first novel. She works as a personal banker at Highland Bank in St. Paul. In her spare time, Barnes enjoys scrapbooking at her mom's crafting retreat, exploring sites of the Minnesota Historical Society and volunteering in her community by mentoring young adults. In 2020, Effie became a first-time homeowner in St. Paul, where she lives with her guinea pigs and cat, Bucky.

Dee Barrett, 51, of Fridley, sponsored by Visit Roseville. Barrett has honed her organization and leadership skills working with executives at Medtronic. In her spare time, she has fostered more than 300 dogs and raised awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. During the early days of the pandemic, Barrett went walking — and hasn't stopped: She has logged 2,983 miles including virtual 5Ks and the Mud Girl Run. When she does slow down, you'll find her at home with her family and three dogs, likely crafting.

Michelle Boris, 32, of Fridley, sponsored by Dan Moran Financial Advisor Merrill Lynch. Boris is the coordinator of young adult ministries at a White Bear Lake church. A graduate of St. Mary's University of Minnesota, she has a degree in evangelization and religious education with a Spanish minor. She enjoys volunteering with the Friends of San Lucas and Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest. She has great childhood memories of the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Sunny Chen, 23, of Shoreview, sponsored by Ideal Printers, Inc. Chen graduated in 2019 from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor's degree in information systems. She is a technical writer with ServiceTec International at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. When she's not working, Sunny enjoys baking from scratch, playing JRPG (role-playing) video games and learning how to sew to make and model cosplay costumes.

Dana DeMaster, 44, of St. Paul, sponsored by Hoover Perio. DeMaster, who has a bachelor's degree from the University of St. Catherine and a master's degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota, manages research and program evaluation for Ramsey County. She is also a mom to two kids, Quinn and Daphne. As a volunteer, she serves as board president of the Fort Road Federation, her district council. In her spare time, she sews historical clothing from between 1780 and 1940. Nearly her entire wardrobe is hand-sewn, with a focus on the 1940s, but her passion is sewing historic corsets. She loves the Winter Carnival, especially attending Carnival events with family and friends.

Jayna Emerson, 32, of New Richmond, Wis., sponsored by Bob & Cheryl Flood. Emerson was born and raised in St. Paul. She loves country music and "anything that sparkles!" She is currently a cloudLibrary account specialist at Bibliotheca in Oakdale. In her spare time, she enjoys organizing, reading, completing do-it-yourself projects and taking her 6-year-old son, Jacob, to as many parades as possible. Emerson is passionate about her involvement in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Twin Cities' Out of the Darkness Walk. She is also a board member with the Ambassadors for the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Alyssa Grythe, 25, Cottage Grove, sponsored by Opportunity Community Services, Inc.: Grythe is currently an assistant program manager at Opportunity Community Services Inc. in Oakdale, where she assists with relocation services and coordination and targeted case management. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in social work. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, spending time with her family, going on walks with her dog, a Labrador named Theo, reading, cooking and baking. She also enjoys volunteering, including tutoring children in reading and math.

Cathryn Heimerdinger, 33, of Oakdale, sponsored by Northern Prairie Financial. Heimerdinger's passion for science led her to become a chemist, then a regulatory affairs specialist for Medtronic. An avid "Harry Potter" enthusiast, she also enjoys baking, fitness and learning, as well as giving back to her community.

Rahila Hungiapuko, 32, of Lauderdale, sponsored by Allegra Marketing Print Mail. Hungiapuko is a graduate of Bethel University and is currently studying for a master's degree. An educator, she specializes in English language development, working with primary and secondary English language learners. Born in Nigeria and raised in St. Paul, she enjoys spending time outdoors, from sledding to paddleboarding. She is also a local performer in community theater. She has a pet bunny named Bella.

Katey Johnson, 45, of St. Paul, sponsored by The Tschida-Johnson Family. Johnson was born and raised in St. Paul, where she attended Como Park Senior High School, going on to study theatrical arts and drama at Century College. When the travel bug hit her, she became a flight attendant with Delta. Grounded by the pandemic, she now works as an account manager for Madison Equities LLC in downtown St. Paul. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering for Special Olympics Minnesota or enjoying the great outdoors with her husband, Brad, and their dog, a three-pound teacup Yorkie named Harley.

Kim Johnson, 38, of Apple Valley, sponsored by White Bear Country Inn & Rudy's Redeye Grill. Johnson, who grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, joined the military at age 17. She retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard after 20 years of service. She is the Women Veteran and Gold Star Family Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs. Her family includes her husband, Bryan, and her 7-year-old daughter, Danielle.

Kylie Johnson, 24, of Woodbury, sponsored by Hamernick's Interior Solutions. Born and raised in Woodbury, Johnson was first introduced to the Winter Carnival by her grandmother in 2004. A December 2021 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, she is now a teacher at Everbrook Academy of Woodbury. When she isn't in the classroom, she loves hiking throughout Minnesota's state parks with her dog, Solo.

Maija Johnson, 21, of Woodbury, sponsored by Doodle Productions. Johnson currently attends Grand Canyon University online, pursuing a degree in elementary and special education. With her love of music, she also teaches violin to beginners. A volunteer for the Winter Carnival, she's wanted to be a part of the royal family since childhood. In her free time, she also volunteers for several other organizations, including Camp Odayin. She enjoys playing with her new kitten, Laszlo.

Marissa Mayfield, 23, of Monticello, sponsored by Quality Insurance Service. Mayfield, a college student, is awaiting acceptance into her desired program of nursing. While she waits, she works full time at Helzberg Diamonds at the Mall of America. She enjoys cooking, even after a full day of working.

Susan Pulcher, 53, of Cambridge, sponsored by South Main Dental. Pulcher has been a labor, postpartum and NICU nurse for the past 22 years. In 2021, she reached her goal of returning to college and graduated with her bachelor's degree in nursing from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She most recently obtained her certified lactation counselor accreditation and has applied to receive her public health license. She has two grown children and welcomed her first grandchild in 2020.

Teri Theno-Erb, 57, of Oakdale, sponsored by Patti Jo and Kari Fitzpatrick at Coldwell Banker. Theno-Erb has roots in West St. Paul and raised her three kids in Oakdale. She is the owner of Teri's Hair Studio. She is newly married to her soulmate and biggest supporter, John. With her communication skills and her big heart, as well as her history of giving back, she believes she would make a great Winter Carnival representative.

Royal Coronation of Boreas Rex LXXXV and Aurora, Queen of Snows

— When: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 (social hour, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 7 p.m.; doors open for general admission seating at 7:30 p.m.)

— Where: St. Paul RiverCentre

— Cost: $25 with a Winter Carnival button; dinner is $90 for members, $105 for nonmembers

— Note: Seating is very limited. General admission tickets will be sold until Jan. 27 while supplies last, with no ticket sales at the door.

— Ticket and event info: