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Hudson woman crowned princess at Winter Carnival

St. Paul Winter Carnival candidates react to the announcement that Dani Ross, second from left, was selected as West Wind Princess. Ross was one of four princesses crowned during the coronation on Friday, Jan. 25. Photo courtesy of St. Paul Winter Carnival 1 / 2
Dani Ross of Hudson is crowned as the St. Paul Winter Carnival West Wind Princess on Friday, Jan. 25. Ross will represent the city throughout the year at events and festivals. Photo courtesy of St. Paul Winter Carnival 2 / 2

A Hudson face will be representing the St. Paul Winter Carnival this year as Dani Ross starts her reign as the West Wind Princess.

Ross was crowned as one of the four carnival princess on Friday, Jan. 26 after three months and 25 events.

"It was like a three-month long job interview," Ross said.

Ross had previously never competed at the Winter Carnival, or in any royalty event. Since she was new to the process, Ross said she reached out to others for advice.

"The main thing was just to be yourself," Ross said. "That's what I did because I didn't know anything else."

Though she's first-time royalty, Ross is no stranger to the Winter Carnival. Her father served as a Vulcan in 1987, sharing the event with the whole family.

"Since I was in seventh grade the Winter Carnival was part of our lives," Ross said.

Her family was with her in January when she was announced as the princess, and Ross said her father was more anxious than she was. When the crown was placed on her head, he cried.

Ross said she was excited for herself and the the other royalty, but also disappointed for those who were not selected.

"In my head I was also thinking about my friends who I have gotten to know really well," she said.

A mother of two, Ross chose this year for her candidacy because her children are older now. This year's Winter Carnival also had the added bonus of Super Bowl crowds and attention, something Ross didn't realize at first.

Though the experience was stressful and nerve-racking, she's excited for the year ahead.

The events before coronation were just a preview of what Ross will now experience as royalty, a year-long commitment. The season includes more than 300 events, from the Winter Carnival to parade and festival season in the summer. Ross will visit senior living facilities, schools and towns across the state and region with a trip down to Florida as well.

"I'm looking forward to when the Royal Family comes into Hudson for Pepper Fest and other events," Ross said.

She is excited to be able to put smiles on people's faces during the royal family visits, especially for those in a time or day that really need it.

"I hope to find smaller pieces in this where I can make an impact," Ross said.

Ross said she takes pride in knowing that she is part of a lifelong community with a basis in volunteering and ambassadorship.

"It's not about what I get out of it," Ross said. "It's more about what I have to give."

Ross was sponsored by Bill Foussard, owner of White Bear Country Inn and Rudy's Redeye Grill.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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