Candidates for Fiesta Topeka’s Queen announced

The two will compete for the title of Queen.
Updated: Apr. 5, 2023 at 5:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The candidates vying for the crown of the queen of this summer’s Fiesta Topeka have been announced to the public.

The two young women running for queen are Monserrat Cortes-Rojas and Lourdes Rodriguez.

Each candidate will raise money for the Fiesta by selling food at Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Marlo Cuevas Balandran Activity Center. Royalty Chair Rosa Cavazos says the plan is to have the candidates alternate weeks from April 16 through June 25. Still, the two will work together on July 8 to sell food at their last opportunity to raise money — at the Mini-Jamaica event held at the Evergy Plaza. After that, the candidates’ royalty campaign will come to a close.

The candidates also walk in the Fiesta Topeka’s Parade scheduled for July 15. That evening, the queen will be named at the Fiesta Coronation Ball.

“We are very grateful to these young ladies and their families for their willingness and desire to serve our parish, Fiesta, and community to support Holy Family School,” said Fr. Dan Coronado, Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. “We invite everyone to come and support these young ladies during their food sales and fundraising activities.”

Lourdes (Lourie) Rodriguez

Lourdes Rodriguez says for a long while, she has been an active member of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and has received all of her sacraments through the CCD program at the catholic church. Rodriguez decided to run for queen because she always marveled at the Fiesta royalty and their community involvement.

“I’ve always admired the royalty, the way they give back to the church and community, I’ve always wanted to do that since I was a little girl,” said Rodriguez.

In the past, Rodriguez says she has performed at the Fiesta with Ballet Folklorico de Topeka. In her community, she participates in soccer and basketball and has learned to play instruments like piano, violin, and trumpet.

She says her name is Lourdes Rodriguez, but she is mostly called Lourie by others.

According to Rodriguez, she has supported many of her friends and family members who have run for Fiesta royalty before, and now she is thrilled to follow in their footsteps. In fact, Rodriguez said her candidacy is dedicated to her grandmother Mary Helen Tetuan.

Monserrat (Monse) Cortes-Rojas

According to Monserrat Cortes-Rojas, she has chosen to run for queen because she deeply desires to give back to her parish. She describes her time with the church as instrumental — leading her to attend the Holy Family Catholic School and Hayden Catholic High School.

She graduated from Hayden in 2021 and has since been pursuing the culinary arts program at Washburn Tech and helping her parents with their food truck business.

She also enjoys baking, cooking, and playing volleyball with her family.

Cortes-Rojas says she loves the Fiesta because it brings people together and allows the community to share its traditions, culture, and meals.

“To bring us closer together, not only people in our church but other people. This is a mix of cultures, and I’m very proud of my Mexican culture as well as my American culture.”

About the Fiesta

The contest for the queen of the Fiesta first started in 1939. According to Fiesta Topeka, the first contest features queen Maria Mendoza Granado and princesses Esther Tostado Sandiffer and Mary Hernandez Chavez.

It wasn’t until 1998 that the Fiesta decided to create a royalty campaign for young ladies and men to become king and queen, but for the 2023 Fiesta Topeka 90th celebration, two young ladies will run for the title of queen.

“The Fiesta Royalty Campaign truly is the crown jewel of the Fiesta,” said Deborah Ortega, Fiesta Topeka Chair. “The royalty campaign officially kicks off on April 16, 2023, with the much-awaited Fiest food sales and fundraising activities for the candidates vying to be crowned Queen and reign over the 90th Annual Fiesta Topeka.”

To learn more about Fiesta Topeka, click HERE or call 785-232-5088.