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Winter Carnival Crowns First Black Queen Of The Snows

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The St. Paul Winter Carnival is known for being an over-the-top celebration of all things snow and ice.

This year, it's also making history by crowning an African-American woman as the Queen of the Snows, 26-year-old Krystle Igbo-Ogbonna.

It's a first for the Winter Carnival and a dream come true for a St. Paul woman.

"Especially when you have never seen someone who looks like you in that role, it's hard to envision yourself there," Igbo-Ogbonna said. "It was a lot of relief, a lot of happiness to have had this goal and been able to achieve it."

She was crowned as Aurora, Queen of the Snows, last Friday night, making her the first black woman to hold the title in the winter carnival's 129-year history.

"I still haven't had a lot of time to process it, but what I hope is that it will encourage other young women to pursue this opportunity," she said.

The selection committee noted her intelligence, confidence and commitment to volunteerism.

In her new role, she's hoping to expand the carnival's reach.

Winter Carnival Queen
(credit: CBS)

"That's a big of the things I talked about in my interviews--making sure the winter carnival was going to festivals and celebrating with people they don't typically celebrate with," she said. "I hope that we get to do some of that."

Igbo-Ogbonna is the child of Nigerian immigrants who moved to St. Paul before she was born.

She remembers going to the Winter Carnival events when she was a little girl.

Today she is working on a master's degree at the University of St. Thomas in educational leadership and getting used to wearing a white suit and crown much of the time.

"I'll get used to the dry-cleaning," she said. "It will be all right. I'm just really excited for this experience."

Over the years, the St. Paul Winter Carnival has had African-American members in the royal family, but this is a first for the title of "Queen of the Snows."

The carnival wraps up Sunday, but the royal family travels around the country, and even Canada, representing St. Paul all year round.

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