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Proud to wear the crown

By Staff | Jul 28, 2015

Newly elected queen Nakita Chadwick has much in common with last year’s honoree, Petra Besenhard, the biggest thing being a deep German heritage.

While that isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to become Ms. Oktoberfest, it certainly didn’t hurt as Chadwick was chosen over five other challengers to become Ms. Oktoberfest for 2015 at the annual pageant at the German-American Club on Saturday.

Chadwick beamed as Besenhard, last year’s Ms. Oktoberfest, put the tiara on her head before club president Hubert Prem had the honor of parading her around the club and taking the first dance.

“I’m so excited. I wasn’t expecting it. My family is strong German and so to win this I hope I make them proud of me,” Chadwick said. “I’m proud of my heritage and where my family came from, so I’m excited to represent the German community in Cape Coral.”

Chadwick, who was born and raised in Southwest Florida and currently resides in North Port, will represent the German American Club for the next year, reigning over and marketing the annual Oktoberfest, Gartenfest, riding the club float at the Festival of Light parade and taking part in other community events throughout the next year.

Chadwick said she wants to help bring a little more of Germany into this year’s Oktoberfest.

“I want to bring to the community the joy and pleasure of Oktoberfest. My whole family besides my grandparents and aunt are all in Germany and they send us pictures of their Oktoberfest,” Chadwick said. “I want to bring that to the community.”

Teresa Kohl, who runs the pageant, said she wished all the contestants could win, but in the end, the judges got it right.

“She’s going to be very active in the club and represent us well. We’re active in the community and that’s what it’s all about,” Kohl said. “You don’t have to be German. If you have the interest and you’re a social person, that’s what helps.”

Prem said the event went off without a hitch thanks to Kohl’s work, and that Chadwick would represent well.

“I saw her the first time today. I see she’s a good-looking lady who will represent our club well because she’s a little older and it will give her a head start,” Prem said.

As for Besenhard, she said her reign as Ms. Oktoberfest was awesome, having met a lot of new friends and shared her culture. She said integrity is very important in a Ms. Oktoberfest.

“I’d like someone to have a heart for the culture and likes to share it. It means a lot to me so, I’d like someone else who feels it in their heart they want to do this,” Besenhart said.

Amanda Dusick was runner-up, with Kerry Pirrone, third. Other finalists were Lauren Smith, Laurie Van Winkle and Casey Kiernan, selected from among the 17 women who applied.

This year’s panel consisted of former Cape Coral mayor Eric Feichthaler; former Cape councilman William Deile; Simone Behr, of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau; Carol Obermeier, of the Southwest Florida International Airport; and Ralph Brand, of the German American Club of Naples. Steve Eichner once again was master of ceremonies.

The 30th annual Oktoberfest will be held Oct. 16-18 and 23-25 at the German American Social Club on Pine Island Road.