Three women vying for asparagus queen crown

May 25, 2023

Photographs courtesy of Jay Luptak. Pictured left to right: Chelsi Walicki, Mackenzie Leedham and Emma Woller.

Three women vying for asparagus queen crown

One of the three women will be crowned the 2023 Asparagus Queen during the Queen’s Pageant and Fundraiser Saturday, June 3, at the West Michigan Research Station in Weare Township.

Here are the candidates:

Chelsi Walicki, Sponsored by Quick-Way Inc. and Walicki’s A-1 Auto Body 

Chelsi Walicki

Chelsi is returning this year after serving as the 2022 Asparagus Queen Runner-Up. She had a great time in 2022 and would like to represent the National Asparagu Festival and Asparagus industry again in 2023. She resides in Ludington but has a strong connection to Oceana County through her family. Following high school, Chelsi earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting at Davenport University and has been employed as an accountant with Quick-Way Inc. of Ludington for the last five years. In her free time, she enjoys sports, volunteering with the Oceana County 4-H Youth program, and is a member of the Oceana County Farm Bureau. Her hopes are to begin construction on her new home in 2024 and start on her hobby farm. The events and appearances Chelsi participated in during 2022 has her thinking about new events for the festival and other opportunities to promote the NAF and asparagus industry. In 2023, Chelsi hopes to help the current board reinvigorate the festival to the true celebration it once was. 

Emma Woller, Sponsored by Woller Shady Lane Farm

Emma Woller is a senior at Michigan State University studying crop and soil science with a minor in agribusiness management. After graduation, Emma will use this degree working with MSU Extension specializing in specialty crops in Michigan. Emma has grown up on her diverse family farm where she gained experience growing and harvesting asparagus along with other row crops and raising bottle calves.

Emma Woller

Emma grew up participating in Oceana County 4-H and was a part of Montague FFA. Emma was able to scout asparagus throughout Oceana County while being a scouting intern for Nutrien Ag Solutions of Hart and working with MSU Extension while collecting TomCast data throughout the county in the off season. Emma is currently a Michigan Grown Michigan Great Ambassador for the Michigan Ag Council where she serves the community through farmer’s markets and festivals while promoting Michigan agriculture. Emma has enjoyed her time volunteering within the Agronomy Club and Sigma Alpha at MSU hosting events promoting Michigan Farm Bureau’s Farm State of Mind Initiative which supports farmers with mental illness. In her future, she would like to be the connection between consumers and growers while being able to support growers with the advancements within the agriculture industry. Emma is excited to have the potential of being the Asparagus Queen. 

Mackenzie Leedham, Sponsored by Change Parts, Inc.

Mackenzie lives in Mason County surrounded by farmland and has an immense desire to learn more about

Mackenzie Leedham

the farming and agriculture industry. Along with her husband, she dreams of creating their own hobby farm with a variety of animals and produce in efforts to become more self-sustainable. Mackenzie graduated from Ferris State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in health information management with aspirations of pursuing a master’s degree in business administration in the future. She began working with her degree in Cadillac, Michigan immediately after graduating. However, in 2020 she moved back to Mason County out of a desire to spend more time in the community in which she was raised. In 2021, she was able to transfer her job to Manistee to be closer to home. In her free time ,Mackenzie loves exploring walking trails with her two corgis and bike trails with her husband as well as other activities such as camping with family, hunting, and boating. She loves asparagus and cannot wait to celebrate its impact on Oceana County and the rest of the nation. 

Pageant tickets are $7 at the door for adults. Tickets for children ages 12 and under are $5, and kids ages 5 and under are free. Doors will open at 4 p.m. for an opportunity to socialize with the queen candidates. 

Light refreshments are sponsored by Dark Water Coffee and Merten’s Farmhouse Market LLC. Kendra Larios-Mendez, the 2018 Asparagus Queen, will emcee the pageant, which begins at 4:30 p.m. 

The newly crowned queen will receive a $1,000 scholarship award, and the funds can be used towards continuing education; or to make a contribution to a local non-profit approved by the NAF Board of Directors. 

This year’s National Asparagus Festival is the 50th annual event. It runs June 9-11 with Saturday, June 10, as the main day. For more information, visit…ebrate-50th-year/

Previous queens throughout the history of the National Asparagus Festival:

Asparagus Queen 2022- Grace Huffman

Asparagus Queen 2021- Tara Oomen

Asparagus Queen 2019- Alysha Sullivan

Asparagus Queen 2018 – Kendra Larios-Mendez

Asparagus Queen 2017 – Vicki Platt

Asparagus Queen 2016 – Mary Harris

Asparagus Queen 2015 ~ Courtney Kokx

Asparagus Queen 2014 ~ Danielle Kokx

Asparagus Queen 2013 ~ Amanda Dodge

Ms. Asparagus 2012 ~ Del Merrill

Mrs. Asparagus 2011 ~ Megan Roskam

Mrs. Asparagus 2010 ~ Kimberly Morden

Mrs. Asparagus 2009 ~ Bethann Riggs

Mrs. Asparagus 2008 ~ Michele Amstutz

Mrs. Asparagus 2007 ~ Heather Green

Mrs. Asparagus 2006 ~ Ann Dold

Mrs. Asparagus 2005 ~ Stephanie Wildey

Mrs. Asparagus 2004 ~ Kendra Masunas

Mrs. Asparagus 2003 – December Saucedo-Gonzalez

Mrs. Asparagus 2002 ~ Sonya Hernandez-Joslin

Mrs. Asparagus 2001 ~ Sarah Short

Mrs. Asparagus 2000 ~ Linda Jonseck

Mrs. Asparagus 1999 ~ Susan Tubbs

Mrs. Asparagus 1998 ~ Starr Yoder

Mrs. Asparagus 1997 ~ Kathy Grantz

Mrs. Asparagus 1996 ~ Beth LaPorte

Mrs. Asparagus 1995 ~ Cheryl Arcello

Mrs. Asparagus 1994 ~ Michelle Monroe

Mrs. Asparagus 1993 ~ Lorena Lindgren

Mrs. Asparagus 1992 ~ Stacia Andres-Mooi

Mrs. Asparagus 1991 ~ Tina Collier Houser

​Mrs. Asparagus 1990 ~ Kathy Carter

Mrs. Asparagus 1989 ~ N. Joy Hamilton

Mrs. Asparagus 1988 ~ Barbara Sheren

Mrs. Asparagus 1987 ~ Lynn Glaser

Mrs. Asparagus 1986 ~ Mary Ellen Rapes

Mrs. Asparagus 1985 ~ Rebecca Wentzloff

Mrs. Asparagus 1984 ~ Barbara Schultz

Mrs. Asparagus 1983 ~ Denise Crum

Mrs. Asparagus 1982 ~ Carol Waller

Mrs. Asparagus 1981 ~ Mary Ann Carey

Mrs. Asparagus 1980 ~ Brenda Ricksgers

Mrs. Asparagus 1979 ~ Jackie Spierenburg

Mrs. Asparagus 1978 ~ Penny Dawson

Mrs. Asparagus 1977 ~ Phyllis Slocum

Mrs. Asparagus 1976 ~ Joan Lund

Mrs. Asparagus 1975 ~ Maxine Huggard