Aug. 6, 2017, is much more than just a date to me. It is the day I got the opportunity to become the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival queen, gain new confidence, and celebrate our city’s unique history. Alliance, Ohio, is known for the scarlet carnation, steel industry, and the railroads that shaped the foundations years ago. However, the thing that makes Alliance truly unique is the people living in it today.

As queen, I have been given opportunities to meet many residents and interact with all age groups that Alliance holds. These events include ice cream socials at Alliance nursing homes, judging a children’s costume contest on Halloween, decorating the Christmas tree with Mayor Andreani, and even celebrating the service brave men and women had to endure for our freedom on Memorial Day. Every time I put on my crown and sash, I knew something great would come with it while I got an inside look at what exactly is happening in my city. Even when I took off my crown and I was just an ordinary girl on the outside, I still noticed the kindness in people around Alliance. Every morning before going to class at Alliance High School, I drove past Parkway Elementary where the crossing guards always smiled and waved at every car that drove past. The smallest acts of kindness can impact another person, hence why I was always in a good mood when I got to school.

As I continue to reminisce on my year as Carnation queen, I think of everyone who found their way into my heart and impacted me greatly. Without your constant love and support, I truly do not know where I would be today.

To my parents, this has been one crazy roller coaster of a year. Graduating high school, becoming a queen, and getting ready for college is not just hard for me, but for you as well. I know we butt heads a lot, but deep down I know we hold a bond that is unbreakable. I love you to the moon and back, and I know you feel the same way about me. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me my entire life, and I’m ready to take on whatever the future may hold as long as I have you in my corner.

To my sponsor, Robin: I have always admired the way you think outside the box and invest your time into the people around you. You helped me so much while running for Carnation queen, and I know you don’t stop at just me. Everyone I know who goes to you for a spray tan leaves with not just a new confidence from their tan, but a friendship and level of trust that is very hard to get with just being in there 15 minutes. Your success from On The Glow has also spoken true to your determination. What started as a small, in-home shop turned into a chain business. With that being said, I am extremely proud to be sponsored by you.

To all of the sponsors, I cannot thank you enough for all you have done to make this once in a lifetime experience come true. You keep Alliance running, and one of the best moments is watching small, Alliance-owned companies turn into big chains around the United States. You give us a reason to proudly say, "Yes, I am from Alliance. Not Canton, not Cleveland, but Alliance, Ohio." You should be proud of all of your accomplishments in the community and out.

To the Carnation Queen Pageant Committee, I want to start off by saying thank you for the dedication and countless hours spent trying to put together the best pageant for Alliance. Each of you brought your own ideas to the table, and, after spending a lot of time with the chaperones this summer, we got to see you for who you truly are. You all are role models to anyone in the Carnation Queen Pageant and we could not be more thankful.

To Sue Grove: You open your arms to anyone you come across, and not enough good things can be said about you. You have become a part of my family over the past year, giving me yet another role model to look up to. Your bright attitude about everything life throws your way is remarkable, and I will never forget our time together.

To the 2018 Carnation queen contestants: I am so glad that I got to know each one of you. You all have something so unique about yourselves that I hope we stay in touch even after tonight. I will be your biggest supporter because at this point in our time together, you are not friends, you are not contestants, but you are family to me in a way others will have a difficult time to understand. I hope you had a great summer while learning about Alliance and the scarlet carnation.

To my court, the ladies that have been by my side through this crazy experience: Jessie, Kayle, Julianna and Alecia; I am so glad that we have become close in the past year. The laughs, inside jokes and memories I share with you will always have a special place in my heart. I couldn’t have asked for a better court to accompany me during our reign.

Finally, my last thank-you goes out to the citizens of Alliance, Ohio. You welcomed me here four years ago, when I first moved to Alliance. If you told me then how connected I would feel to this city and its people, I would tell you about how crazy you are. Now, I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do. Moving to Alliance has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I want to say thank you for letting me rule as the 2017 Greater Alliance Carnation Festival queen.

Mallory McCreedy

2017 Greater Alliance Carnation Festival queen