By Kevin Kelley
The end of the year is a time to not only look back, but also look forward to the year ahead. Organizers at the Rose of Tralee Northern Ohio Centre have already begun planning for 2013.
In April, the center will hold its third Northern Ohio Rose Selection Celebration, at which a representative will be chosen for the International Rose of Tralee contest. Named after a 19th-century ballad about unrequited love, the contest is part of a weeklong festival in the Irish town that began a sister-city relationship with
Westlake in 2009. The contest is open to unmarried women, ages 18-27, of Irish descent. Judging is based on communication skills, poise, personality and talent. The final segment of the contest is broadcast nationally in Ireland.
Applications are now being accepted for the Northern Ohio Rose title. Contestants will need to be available for three days full of judging and other related events that are being planned for April 19-21, 2013.
This year, the Northern Ohio contestants will be asked to approach backers, such as local businesses and associations, for a $100 sponsorship fee. Many other Rose centers around the world require the entrants to obtain backing, and the Tralee Rose headquarters endorsed the practice, said Brett Luengo, one of the Northern Ohio Rose organizers.
“Sponsorships open the door for businesses, clubs, associations and community groups to conduct their own contestant search,” Luengo said. “This can be a fun activity for patrons, clientele and membership while generating community support and recognition.
“It is also thought that this would be an especially good form of activity and promotion for senior residences and assisted living homes, as it could include residents who would otherwise find it difficult to attend the April 2013 Selection Celebration. A sense of family is an important part of Irish heritage, and it’s been learned that grandparents and great-grandparents, great-aunts and -uncles can be a great source of contestant recruitment.”
Potential applicants and sponsors can obtain additional information via e-mail at inquiries@NorthernOhioRose.com. Details pertaining to event sponsorships and individual ticket sales will be available in January at www.NorthernOhioRose.com.
Application forms can also be downloaded from the website. In addition to the $100 sponsorship fee, potential Roses must submit a $50 personal application fee. The deadline for applications is March 21, but the application fee will only be $35 for those who return their applications by Jan. 15.
The Northern Ohio Rose competition is run by Westlake World Partners, a nonprofit corporation formed to work with the city in pursuing its sister-city relationships. Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough and City Council President Mike Killeen are among the founders of Westlake World Partners.