Tonawanda News — When Victoria Lyle’s name was announced as Canal Fest Queen 2014, her joyful response was “She believed she could and she did.”
“It’s my favorite quote,” Lyle, 20, smiled. She is the daughter of Rex and Kathleen Lyle of North Tonawanda.
In addition to being crowned queen and receiving a $300 scholarship, Lyle received the Miss Congeniality trophy during the event at the Riviera Theatre on Saturday.
Lyle, one of five contestants entered in the Queen pageant, is a junior at Trocaire College majoring in radiologic technology.
“When I told my friends I was entering the contest, one girl laughed. She didn’t realize what this pageant is really all about.”
MaryAlice Demler, who was mistress of ceremonies, agreed with Lyle about the meaning of the pageant.
“Don’t let anyone tell you the Queen pageant is like others,” she said.
“These (contestants) are well-rounded, bright young people. This pageant is great for the girls. They are articulate and socially aware. Every year I’m taken aback by how wonderful these young women are.”
Demler, who ran the event for 15 years, handed over the reins this year to Dana Fisher, 2011 Canal Fest Queen.
“It’s a lot of work,” Fisher said. “But I had planned to stay involved after I won. MaryAlice has really helped me.”
Cara Porto, 18, of North Tonawanda and an architecture student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was first runner-up.
“I’ve been doing this (pageant contestant) since Little Princess contest. I’d like to tell girls that it’s okay to be different.” she said.
Porto called herself a “sports girl” and a hockey player.
“My mom said I couldn’t bring my hockey stick on stage,” she laughed.
The other contestants are also sports enthusiasts, playing softball, hockey among other sports, with the exception of Anna Smolka, of North Tonawanda, who said she’s a cheerleader. In fact, she is a member of the Buffalo State College cheerleading squad.