Last year, the Great Falls Balloon Festival board of directors decided to implement a contest in which this year’s Festival theme would be selected from among contest entries. “I am happy to announce that Amanda Alberda’s theme idea – World of Water – was selected as the winner,” said Mike Theriault, this year’s Great Falls Balloon Festival balloonmeister. Theriault reported that there is no age limit to the annual contest. “Amanda will be the grand marshal for the Festival’s parade and other activities throughout the Festival, and will receive “Balloon Bucks” to spend at the Festival.” Theriault noted that the Festival board of directors reserves the right to make all final decisions regarding the Festival Theme Contest entries.

Amanda Alberda said the Theme Contest was one of the most important Festival contests that she entered last year. Sitting at her kitchen table, she gave the Festival theme some thought. With paper spread out in front of her, she started drawing. Hoping to come up with something unique, she said “the ocean” popped into her mind. Her original drawing included “a coral reef, a shark, and a fish.”

With a growing list of accomplishments, Alberda is no stranger to working hard and standing out among her peers. Yet, she remains surprised at the honors bestowed on her, and proud. Her accomplishments include receiving “Best of Show” for her design and construction of a “solar cooker that would work on Mars.” That was in fourth grade at the Montello/Farwell 2009 Gifted and Talented program. Amanda, the daughter of Pete and Barbara Alberda, is 10 years old.

Other accomplishments include making honor roll, working as a page in the Maine State Senate and also in the Maine House of Representatives, participating in Drama Camp and landing leading roles, playing sports, and recognized as one of the best writers in her grade four out of five years for which she participated in the Night of the Stars. Alberda is growing a vegetable garden this year and “plans to give all of the produce she is able to raise to Hope Haven Mission.”

This newest accomplishment, of winning the Festival Theme Contest, “is one of her proudest accomplishments.” Look for Alberda as she enjoys her role as grand marshal of the Festival parade and many of the Festival activities.

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