Miss Henning Princess relieves her title on Friday

Photo by Dani Koenen
Grace Hammer was crowned as the Henning Festival Princess during last year’s pageant. She has represented Henning at a variety of parades and community events throughout the past year. 

By Kathryn Wilkowski


Last July, Grace Hammer tried out for one of the biggest events in Henning—the Henning Festival pageant. 

“My sister, Madi Johnson, had run for the pageant when she was an upcoming senior. She made it seem like it was really fun and I thought I would give the experience a try,” she said. “I definitely didn’t come into it thinking I would win. I just wanted to grow as a person from just competing in general.”

Alongside her responsibilities as Miss Henning Princess, Hammer also occupies her time with volleyball, basketball, volunteering at her church, SADD, student council, and class presidency. 

“I’ve just tried doing what I can to try to show my support for the community,” Hammer explained.

Growing up, Hammer had competed in competitive dance for the majority of her childhood giving her a bit of a competitive edge in the competition. 

“I had learned so much when competing even with the background in dance,” she said. “It was very nerve wracking, but afterwards I felt very accomplished and I had so much fun. I went out there and did something that I never thought I would do before.”

Coming from a family of pageant girls, Hammer’s sister, Madison Johnson, her grandma, Deana Hammer had also been a part of the Henning pageant program. 

“Even when just getting ready, my family curled my hair and stuff like that,” she said. “We even wore the same dress and the advice she gave was awesome. It was a way we could all bond.”

From learning many life skills including public speaking and confidence, Hammer highly encourages many other upcoming seniors to give the pageant a shot. 

“Just going up on that stage and doing something you’ve never done before is already a reward. You’re getting crowned without already being crowned,” she said. “We just were so proud that we stuck together and completed something like this together.”

Reflecting on winning Miss Henning Princess, Hammer had felt the relief of the exhausting week of rehearsals and long day of interviews.

“It was like a breath of fresh air,” she said. “We were all so nervous. I felt very proud to be given the chance to represent the City of Henning and it was a huge deal. It was basically like the weights on my shoulders were lifted.”

The upcoming Henning pageant is Friday, July 8 and is an all day event welcome to everyone. As her year wraps up, you can watch Hammer journey and the next person crown Miss Henning and Miss Henning First and Second Princess. 

“I’m so sad that I have to be done. This has been a great experience and I learned so much,” Hammer said. 

After recently graduating, Hammer will be continuing her education at the University of Minnesota in the Cities, majoring in nursing.