Kiara Anastasia Laurenzano has been chosen to serve the Festival in what will be its most traditional and most magical role, that of Queen Shenandoah the 90th. Kiara was happily nominated for this fairy-tale position by her Great-Aunt and Godmother, Edda Maria Sevilla Somoza, who, herself, is a former Queen, having served as Queen Shenandoah the 46th during the Festival of 1973. Edda Maria, in turn, is the daughter of another former Queen, Lillian Somoza. Lillian served as Queen Shenandoah the 17th during the Festival of 1940. The Somoza Family was very prominent in Central American affairs for much of the 20th century; and, at the time of her reign, Lillian’s father, Anastario Somoza, was President of Nicaragua. Lillian Somoza married the equally prominent Nicaraguan leader, Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa, who was the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the United States from 1943 until 1979. For his record-breaking service, Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa was appointed Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, a position he held at the time of Edda Maria’s reign in 1973. Guillermo ended up serving as Ambassador to the United States for 36 years, serving eight American Presidents and eleven Secretaries of State. He and Lillian had nine children, including their oldest daughter, Edda Maria Sevilla Somoza.
Kiara is the granddaughter of Edda Maria’s younger sister, Lorena, who accompanied Edda Maria to Winchester in 1973 when she was Queen; and, again in 2002 for the 75th Anniversary Festival. Kiara is well aware of her family’s rich history in world affairs; and, its historic relationship with the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. In her own words: “Kiara Anastasia Laurenzano is a freshman at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she is part of the Third Century Scholar program. She is majoring in Heath-Sciences and minoring in Spanish. Kiara plans to become a pediatric nurse practitioner; and, she is interested in natural medicine, nutrition, and the environment. Born in 1998 to an African-American father and a Nicaraguan-Italian mother, Kiara grew up in a Spanish-speaking, multi-cultural household. Kiara, who has a large extended family, grew up in Potomac, Maryland, with her two younger brothers, Lorenzo and Tommie. Kiara enjoyed a very special relationship with her maternal great-grandmother, Lillian Somoza de Sevilla-Sacasa (Apple Blossom Queen, 1940), and was her first great-grandchild. Kiara’s Godmother, Edda Maria Sevilla Somoza, was the Apple Blossom Queen in 1973. Kiara attended Middleburg Academy, located in Middleburg, Virginia, where she was a member of the Honor Council and the President of the Green Club. She also played varsity soccer all four years and earned Most Valuable Player twice. Additionally, she was a part of the cross-country team for 3 years and played basketball her freshman year. Kiara is 19 years old. She enjoys listening to music, painting, exercising, cooking, and playing with her pets. She loves the beach and spending time with family and friends. She is looking forward to studying abroad and doing volunteer work in Nicaragua.”
Kiara Anastasia Laurenzano will be crowned Queen Shenandoah the 90th in the beautifully traditional Queen’s Coronation Ceremony on Friday, May 5th, 2017, at 1:30pm, in the Patsy Cline Theater, at the elegantly historic John Handley High School. Some tickets may still be available at this time. She will attend many Festival functions during her reign, including the Village at Orchard Ridge Queen’s Dinner and the Sunrise Medical Laboratories Queen’s Ball. One of the highlights of her reign will be her ride through the Grand Feature Parade [The Trail of Pink Petals] on her iconic gold apple throne at the top of the Queen’s Float. Kiara’s family is a large one; and, the Festival looks forward to welcoming many of her relatives to the land of Pink and Green!