Intergalactic inspiration

Royal Court sparkles down the runway in TCF Coronation

The planets aligned, along with the duchesses before promenade, in time for the out-of-this-world coronation of Queen Citrianna 83rd.

Last Thurs. Jan. 23, the Texas Citrus Fiesta celebrated the 83rd annual Royal Coronation of King Citrus and Queen Citrianna. The event included a pageant featuring the Princess Court, Royal Court and the King Citrus’ of decades past.

The evening, held at the Mission High School Neuhaus Gym, marked the beginning of the reign of Jaedynn E’Del Alaniz, Queen Citrianna the 83rd. It also culminated in the election of Queen Citrianna 84th, Kaylee Ann Silva, who served this year as the Duchess of Royal Palms.

Kellye Ortega and Elizabeth Mendez acted as the narrators for the coronation, describing the gowns in detail and highlighting the accomplishments of each and every member of the Royal Court.

“The Texas Citrus Fiesta is one of the oldest running festivals in the state,” Ortega said. “Our traditional celebration is a kickoff to salute the respectable citrus industry in Texas, most notably the Rio Grande Valley.” 

King Citrus

Each year, a new King Citrus is elected and crowned by the remaining kings of the past, the Ex-Kings Association. A closely-guarded secret until his coronation, King Citrus represents and is affiliated with some aspect of the citrus industry.

Donning formal wear and red sashes, the kings present at this year’s coronation who served as royal honor guards included Dennis Holbrook, Ray Prewett, Dwayne Bair, David Hardison, Fred Karle, Jud Flowers, Mark Fryer, José Amador, Earl Neuhaus, Jim Hoffman, Dale Murden and Trent Bishop. Two kings who passed away this year, Ken Martin and William Bud Harrison, were honored with a moment of silence.

Ted Prukop was named King Citrus the 83rd. After making his entrance, Ortega and Mendez spoke about his life leading to the crown, including his experience with Texas Citrus Mutual.

“He has managed Valley Ag Insurance, the agency that serves the Rio Grande Valley Citrus Growers, and in this capacity Ted has given the industry and its growers 22 years of peace of mind through freezes, hurricanes, floods and hail,” Ortega said. “He is the manager for the Texas Valley Citrus Committee and the Texas Citrus Federal Marketing Order, which keeps all shippers and packers in compliance with agreed-upon quality, size and grade regulations.”

Prukop also served as a liaison for Texas Citrus Mutual and the RGV Citrus Growers. In his coronation, he was given a crown to keep.

Last year’s King Citrus, Brandon Thompson, made his final walk as king before Prukop was crowned. Thompson wrote a letter that highlighted the legacy of the Texas Citrus Fiesta and his time as king.

Tangerine Court

Princess Anna the 70th, Audreanna Nicholle Dooley, made her first official entrance in a gown of white raw silk, accented with gold “as is her right.” Her silk bodice featured a square neckline outlined with a trim of clear rhinestone links that also adorned the waist and leg of the button sleeves fitted below the elbow, and the upper sleeves were also made of silk, overlaid with white alencon lace sewn with gleaming white cording, iridescent bugle and pony beads and illustrious pearls.

Dooley’s sheer lower sleeves ended at a point at the back of her hands, and were attended with white lace appliques. Topaz and clear Swarovski crystals were added to the alencon lace, and the sleeves were closed with silk-covered buttons.

Her scalloped high collar, allowed only to Princess Anna and Queen Citrianna, was made of while silk, completely covered by gold alencon lace and embroidered with metallic white thread, clear sequins and added Swarovski crystals.

Her full skirt was bordered with gold alencon lace applique, which also bordered the hem, and the entire thing was covered with white alencon beaded lace. At the back of her waist were delicate pearl-encrusted citrus blossoms over a veil of gold alencon lace. Over 10,000 silver and gold Swarovski rhinestones covered her dress. Dooley was crowned by Prukop following her entrance down the catwalk.

The 2020 Tangerine Court also made their royal procession, made up of other six-year-olds, Anna Noemi Garza – Princesses of Lemon Blossom, Avery Lee Trevino – Princess of Lime Blossom, Vitalina Victoria “V.V.” Betancourt – Princess of Tangerine Blossom and Elizabeth Lauren Gerlach – Princess of Red Grapefruit Blossom. They were chosen based on their grace, charm and charisma.

Queen Citrianna

Traditionally, the name of the queen is revealed during the finale of the previous year’s festivities. Queen Citrianna the 83rd, Jaedynn E’Del Alaniz, previously served as the Duchess of White Wing.

Queen Citrianna is elected by judges based on a personal interview which also involves citrus history held before the coronation, along with their performance during the event itself.

Alaniz wore a regal gown of primarily gold with accents of white. Her bodice was cut with a jeweled neckline and three-quarter length fitted sleeves, both of which were encrusted with rhinestones, pearls and Swarovski crystals of many colors and shapes over gold brocade.

Her high collar was also covered with richly-beaded gold brocade and finished with a white scalloped lace trim. The perfectly-bell-shaped antique skirt fell from a dropped waistline, and was entirely overlaid with gold tulle embroidered with sequined leaves.

Small white flowers were placed evenly along her skirt near the hem, which was further embellished with white lace appliques. Alaniz’s train was rich white and velvet-lined, with gold satin lattice detail on the border and hand-beaded appliqued citrus fruit formed from lamé.

Alaniz carried a royal scepter specifically designed to compliment her dress. She was crowned by Prukop after her entrance.

Alaniz wanted to send a message with her dress, one that represented her family and what they stand for. Her gown was different to symbolize that it is okay to be different, and it is also okay to not always be okay.

Queen Citrianna the 82nd, Alexandria Canchola, made her final walk as queen during the event. She wrote a letter detailing her experience in the last year as queen, and thanked her family for their support and love throughout her reign.

Royal Court

Each member of the Royal Court was preceded by a page, young boys bearing the icons representing rich and valuable resources found throughout the Valley. One by one the duchesses, dressed in uniquely-designed formal ball gowns modelled after fruits, symbols, produce and foliage, were introduced.

Floating down the catwalk, the duchesses glittered under the lights and finished their walk with a controlled curtsey. The judges made their final decisions based on how they conduct themselves during the coronation and their character interviews.

Queen Citrianna the 84th was elected at the end of the coronation: Kaylee Ann Silva. Silva, the Duchess of Royal Palms and Miss Palmview, wore a classic-style ball gown in shades of green and antique gold.

Her bodice was made of gold taffeta, featuring a jeweled neckline and cap sleeves overlaid with alencon lace sewn with green thread cording, green and gold sequins and added gold aurora borealis Swarovski crystals. Her full skirt fell from the natural waist, and was made of antique gold taffeta sewn with overlapping petals of beaded green lace.

An elegant bustle was created from palm fronds accented with gold and centered with green seeds covered with sequins over wide loops of antique gold, covered with green beaded lace and gold aurora borealis crystals closing the back.

Silva will be acting as Queen Citrianna the 84th following her own coronation next year.

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