The first ever Northern Ohio Rose of Tralee will be crowned Friday during a program at Crocker Park.
The contest for young, unmarried women of Irish descent grew out of Westlake’s sister city relationship with Tralee, Ireland.
The Northern Ohio Rose will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Portlaoise, Ireland, and additional prizes. If selected as a finalist, she will then return to Ireland in August to compete in the International Rose of Tralee Festival in Tralee.
The six finalists for the Northeast Ohio title are Madeline K. Fox, Meghan B. Hanrahan, Jordan A. Hornyak, Bridget K. Linton, Caitlin M. Mackin and Jessica J. Ryan.
The winner will be chosen during a program at 6 p.m. Friday outside Regal Cinemas at Crocker Park. Longtime local sportswriter and broadcaster Dan Coughlin will host the event.
During Friday’s program, the six finalists will be escorted by U.S. Marines from the battalion headquartered in Brook Park. Entertainment will include a quintet from the Ohio Pops Orchestra, dancers from the Leneghan Academy of Irish Dance and bagpiper Bruce Greig.
The judges who will select the Northern Ohio Rose are Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough, Cleveland Pops President and CEO Shirley Morgenstern, and two former Rose competitors – Tricia O’Grady Frantini and Linda Shubeck.
Regina Costello, a native of Ireland who is active in several Irish-American organizations in greater Cleveland, is running the Northern Ohio Rose contest. She told West Life the response has been greater then expected.
In addition to Friday’s selection show being sold out, the contest had more entrants than expected.
“We got more than the other (U.S.) centers,” she said.
She added that organizers of the international contest in Tralee were impressed.
“They congratulated our effort and the response that we received,” she said.
Named after a 19th-century ballad about unrequited love, the contest is part of a week-long festival in Tralee, a city in southwest Ireland that began its sister-city relationship with Westlake in 2009. The final segment of the contest is broadcast nationally in Ireland.
For more information on the Northern Ohio Rose contest, including biographies of the finalists, go to http://northernohiorose.com/.