Meet Our Royalty!

Welcome to our 2017 – 2018 Royalty! We’re so excited for another year with a new bunch of amazing people.


  • Queen Natalie Jacobwith
  • Princess Kelly Flanders
  • Princess Chloe Ekstrum

Junior Royalty

  • Junior Queen Charlotte Sommervold
  • Junior Princess Elsa Braendlin

Senior Royalty

  • Queen Deb Winter-Renfro
  • King Jay Graziani

Meet Our Candidates!


The Raspberry Royalty are the face of the Hopkins Raspberry Festival. In this professional development opportunity, they act as representatives at community events in and around the metro area, learn and perform volunteer service, and experience civic involvement in a unique and fun way.

These are our 2016 Raspberry Royalty candidates! Get to know them below. For a schedule of this year’s events, visit


Raspberry Royalty Candidates

Sophrona LaVasseur

Sponsor: Citizen’s Independent Bank
Sophrona, a 22-year-old Minnesota State University, Mankato, student has had the dream of being part of the Hopkins Raspberry Festival Royalty since she was a child. She lived in downtown Hopkins and always attended the festival while growing up. Sophrona enjoys being a cheerleader for football and basketball while away at school and loves everything sports, with future plans of becoming a football agent. When not at school, she makes sure to have time for her family and dog Floyd, while reading as many books as she can. Sophrona feels this candidacy will help her become more involved in the community and be a good role model for younger girls.

Katelynn Throne

Sponsor: Mac’s Liquor
Katelynn, is a 23-year-old who loves to volunteer and has grown up in Hopkins her entire life and truly has the Hopkins Raspberry Festival in her blood. She and her family have volunteered, were past royalty, and continue to volunteer each year with the festival. Katelynn has three cats that have been the driving force behind her plans to become a vet tech. When she is not volunteering, spending time with her family, or working, she enjoys creative writing, dancing and singing. Katelynn feels this candidacy will give her the chance to really show others in the community how great Hopkins is and why she has so much pride in continuing to live here.

Brooke Hansen

Sponsor: Hopkins Elks
Brooke, a 17-year-old who has lived in Hopkins since she was ten, really enjoys the sense of community Hopkins has. Brooke, who will be a high school senior this fall, enjoys picking up books from the local library, writing, playing in the high school band, acting in the high school acting program and being on the swim team. She is looking forward to attending Minnesota State University, Mankato, to complete her generals before moving to Hamline University for their pre-law program. Brooke feels this candidacy is a great opportunity to continue her volunteering time and participate in even more activities that Hopkins has to offer.

Kelly Flanders

Sponsor: Mainstreet Motor Company
Kelly is a 22-year-old Community Education Major at Normandale Community College. Kelly attended Mainstreet School for Performing Arts and has been volunteering with her church youth program since the ninth grade. When not in school, she enjoys photography, horseback riding, fi t camps and spending time with her family. She has also been on multiple mission trips and is excited to now be able to go in a chaperone role. Kelly feels this candidacy will help her become more involved in the community and share her love of the city.

Chloe Moe

Sponsor: Driskill’s Downtown Market
Chloe will be a Hopkins High School senior this fall, and this 17-year-old’s passion is singing. She is involved in the Hopkins High School Concert & Chamber choirs and has been singing since she was 4. Her future plans include becoming a nurse, and she is currently looking into school possibilities. Her family has been involved with the festival in the past, and Chloe is looking forward to the opportunities the candidacy brings, including learning more about Hopkins, growing friendships, and making this a true personal growth experience for her.

Jezebel Flores

Sponsor: Hopkins American Legion
Jezebel, a 21 year old senior at the University of Minnesota was welcomed with open arms to Hopkins when transferring here her freshman year of High School. Jezebel is bilingual in Spanish and enjoys using this while volunteering at a bilingual school. She has also traveled to Mexico to study abroad and learn more about the culture. Jezebel is a Speech, Language, and Hearing Science major with a second major in Spanish. She is looking forward to continuing to learn more about Hopkins, meeting new people and building long lasting relationships while being a candidate.

Candidate Orientation


Join us for our 2017 candidate orientation!

Sunday June 3rd @ 10:00 am
Hopkins Fire Station – 3rd Floor
Wear a black shirt and modest jewelry for candidate pictures.
Bring questions, friends, or even family!!

Royal Benefits: Scholarships

WalserFoundation2013The Scholarships

The Raspberry Royalty Scholarship Fund is funded through the work of the Hopkins Raspberry Association charitable gaming operation, fundraisers, and most recently, the addition of the generous participation of the Walser Foundation.

Walser Automotive Group got its start in Hopkins when Jack Walser opened Town’s Edge Ford in 1956. Since then, we’ve been a proud member of the Hopkins community and have been committed to giving back to communities where we work, live, and play. The Walser Foundation donates 5% of pre-tax earnings to local nonprofit organizations and participates in numerous philanthropic events throughout the Twin Cities. On behalf of our employees, our customers and their families, Walser is proud to support Raspberry Royalty Scholarships.

Personal Growth

Testimonial: Aubree Yunker 2005-2006 Hopkins Raspberry Festival Queen.
One of the many reasons I loved my experience as Royalty was the way that I grew as a professional young woman.  Throughout my year as queen I found myself a part of many public speaking opportunities.  We spoke at events around Hopkins and at other festivals’ coronations, both where we introduced ourselves and invited people to join us for the next Hopkins Raspberry Festival.  I had always felt pretty comfortable speaking publicly, but this program gave me the opportunity to hone my skills and not be such a scripted speaker.

I also learned to be more comfortable speaking to people that I had just met.  I learned to strike up a conversation with new people and skills to keep a conversation going.  I learned to network and make connections with people that I never would have before this program. Through just those two pieces of the Royalty program, I have increased my opportunities in my professional life.  I am a middle school science teacher, so I spend my whole day speaking to people.  I am able to keep a conversation going with middle school students and adults who may just need someone to talk to.  I have grown a passion for facilitating adult professional development classes and have been placed many leadership roles at our school.  The opportunities the Royalty Program gave me help me to grown into the professional woman I am today.

Having Fun in Our Community

As a candidate, you get to be a part of the community in multiple fun ways!

You get to enjoy a Twins Games, model fashions from a local clothing store, and hang out with the other candidates for Group Judging night. You may also get to go to neighboring community’s coronation and reception or parade to meet other people in the festival world!

You will get a chance to meet and volunteer with many of the adorable Junior Royalty Candidates at Art Night, a community service event, and their coronation and dance. And enjoy time and stories with the Senior Royalty at their Senior Coronation and Game Day.

Culminate the experience with a ride in a convertible down Mainstreet during the Grande Day Parade…doesn’t this sound right up your alley!?!

From meeting fellow business people, candidates and volunteers; to having fun with the Junior Royalty Candidates, and riding in a parade…

  • Crown Town Fundraising Dinner
  • Junior Royalty Candidate Art Night
  • Self Defense Class
  • Self Improvement Sessions
  • Feed My Starving Children
  • Meet the Candidates
  • Practice Interviews
  • Private Interviews
  • Minnesota Twins Game
  • Senior Royalty Coronation and Game Day
  • Junior Royalty Coronation and Dance
  • Attend Hopkins Raspberry Festival Board of Directors Meeting
  • Royalty Candidate Group Judging
  • Royalty Coronation and Royal Ball and Rehearsal
  • Grande Day Parade

Forging New Friendships


Lauren Paulson

2004-2005 Hopkins Raspberry Festival Princess.

During my time as a princess, the aspect I loved the most was meeting so many different people from different communities. We all have the common goal of volunteerism, showcasing our community, and the pursuit of personal development. So it was easy to see why we became so close so quickly.

Still to this day, I have kept in touch with people who were queens, princesses and ambassadors during my year. I have helped my friends by volunteering with their local festivals, and asked for people to volunteer with for the Raspberry Festival. We have the same goals and motivation, to provide the same amazing experience we had!

And from a personal aspect; I have been invited to fellow royal alumni’s weddings, wedding/baby showers, new babies, new business launches, lunches and coffee chats. These friendships have helped me through college and my professional career, and because we have this bond from over a decade ago; I know it will last!