TYLER – It is a first for the Texas Rose Festival. A Tyler Junior College student has been named queen of the festival. The 85th Texas Rose Queen is Amanda Elaine Hiles of Tyler, a freshman at TJC. The announcement was made Thursday night at a gala event and a news conference. But, according to a news release from TJC, her identity as queen had actually been a closely guarded secret kept under wraps since early November. On the morning of Thursday, Nov. 2, Texas Rose Festival President Brad Curtis and a small entourage of rose festival officials, members of the Hiles family and a huge bouquet of roses, made a surprise visit to the TJC main campus to drop in on an Apache Belles rehearsal. It was then when Curtis asked Amanda, “Would you be my queen?” He got a quick, “yes.”
The Texas Rose Festival has been a longtime tradition in Amanda’s family. She said her mother was a lady in waiting, her aunt was queen, she was a train bearer when she was little, her older brother was an escort, and last year her sister was a lady in waiting.
Amanda’s Rose Festival escort will be Jace Evans, son of Apache Belles Artistic Director/Choreographer Christy Evans and her husband, Eric Evans.
Photo by Jessica Alexander/TJC