Bunkowski reflects on her reign as Henning Festival Queen

Photo by Dani Koenen
Alyvia Bunkowski will wrap up her reign as the Henning Festival Queen on Friday during the Henning Festival Pageant. The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the festival grounds. 

By Kathryn Wilkowski


Recent Henning graduate, Alyvia Bunkowski, took home the crown when running for Miss Henning Area Queen last July for her first pageant. 

“I went into it thinking ya know, Toddlers and Tiaras, walking a certain way, smiling with a big cheesy grin,” she said. “But a lot of it is being willing to help others and just being your true self. My favorite part was during the interview process and they asked me a bunch of questions; I just had so much fun.”

Bunkowski is involved in Speech, Softball, National Honor Society, SADD, the worship team at her church, NSHSS, and 4-H club throughout her school and community. 

“I wasn’t originally going to run in the first place. I was just so busy,” she said. “But a whole bunch of people really encouraged me to try it out and I ended up loving it.”

After being called out as Miss Henning, Bunkowski was bewildered at the thought of being able to represent her community for the last year before moving to college. 

“My mouth just dropped. It was a complete shock,” she said. “After they crowned Grace, all I could think of was how cool it would be to repeat history again. Me and Grace actually won little miss first princess and queen in second grade. But every girl I was standing with was a great candidate so I had no idea what would happen. But then, they put the crown on my head.”

Alongside Bunkowski, Grace Hammer was crowned Miss Henning Princess. For the young royalty, the second princess was Nella Porter, first princess was Kami Dittberner and little miss princess was Emersyn Spires. 

“I’m so grateful for the three young one’s we have this year. They’re so sweet and I’ve learned so much from them,” she said. 

After being crowned, Bunkowski had a busy year ahead of her. Filling up her schedule with parades, appearances around town, serving food at various events, working booths around town, and simply just doing community service. 

“Even a year later I can’t get over how having a crown on can make a little girl’s day,” she said. “It’s just so special. I wish we could do even more sometimes.”

Receiving her Associates Degree from the Minnesota State and Technical College, Bunkowski plans on continuing her education at Grinnell College in Iowa with a full ride academic scholarship.  

“I am going to miss so much, but at the same time, I’m pretty much done. I’ve done all that I can to help the community and the people that I’ve interacted with, in this set position as queen,” she said. “So, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next group of girls will do with their title. Because this really is a privilege and a huge blessing.”

To watch Bunkowski give up her title, the Henning pageant is an all day event on Friday, July 8.