Samantha Olsen from South Dakota was chosen to be the 2017 Cherry Blossom Queen on Friday. Olsen’s coronation came during a ball sponsored by the National Conference of State Societies at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington. The annual event on the eve of the Cherry Blossom Parade draws contestants called Cherry Blossom Princesses from all 50 states, along with territorial societies and the District. The election takes place via fate–a spin of a “wheel of fortune” picks the winner, who is then coronated with a large crown made by the Japanese jeweler Mikimoto.
Olsen, a student at the George Washington University, smiled and waved at the crowd before joining her fellow contestants on the dance floor.