Oh, to be a queen! There's the tiara, fancy dress and white gloves. In Mansfield, those very dreams are coming true, with a slight twist.
Mansfield, officially named the pickle capital by the Texas legislature in 2013, is home to 16 Pickle Queens. They're easily recognizable by their curly red wigs, thrift-shopped green dresses, white gloves and cowboy boots.
Mansfield seriously loves pickles. As in: The Pickle Queens put on The World's Only St. Paddy's Pickle Parade and Palooza for more than 5,000 attendees each year. Since 2012, the Pickle Queens' party includes a parade, fun runs, food vendors, music concerts and other family-friendly activities.
Mark your calendars: 2018's Pickle Parade and Palooze is scheduled for March 17.
Pickle Queens also keep busy throughout the year by putting on community charity events and working with Mansfield elementary schools to teach the kids about the city's culture. On July 29, for instance, the queens are hosting the Bling Fling Pickle Prom at Steven's Garden & Grill in Mansfield, and people are encouraged to wear old prom gowns or tuxedos to the fun event, which benefits Habitat for Humanity and Mansfield ISD's Feed the Kids program, among three others.
So you want to be a Pickle Queen? It's complicated
It's best if the queens already know you, says Pickle Queen founder and Her Royal Highness Amanda Kowalski. Some rules, however, do apply: All queens must be at least 40 years old and be willing to ride the float during the Pickle Parade.
"It's kind of a mysterious process and sort of a secret on how to become a Pickle Queen, but no matter what, all queens need to be willing to get on that float and be a little silly and over-the-top," Kowalski says.
Don't ditch your queen dreams yet, ladies. Kowalski recommends that Pickle Queen hopefuls start attending community service events in Mansfield throughout the year in order to get familiar with the queens.
We'll say it: Being a Pickle Queen in Mansfield is a pretty big dill.