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Local women represent Woodbury at Winter Carnival

The South Wind Princess Nicole Turner(left) and the North Wind Princess Sara Steigauf(right) both graduated from Woodbury High School. Despite going to the same school and growing up in the community the women said they never met until this year's St. Paul Winter Carnival festivities. Submitted photo.

Nicole Turner and Sara Steigauf went to the same high school. They also both grew up celebrating the St. Paul Winter Carnival, Vulcan style.

Each woman had family members become involved with the infamous nemesis of winter (according to carnival legend). Turner had a cousin don the iconic red jumpsuits, and Steigauf's uncles had the honor of wielding the charcoal. But the pair of Woodbury High School graduates never came to know each other until the last few weeks at the Winter Carnival.

The women serve in King Boreas' court as the North and South Wind princesses.

Playing the role of a princess

Turner, who served as the South Wind Princess in this year's carnival (which ended last weekend), said she had always wanted to participate in the Winter Carnival.

Steigauf came into her role as the North Wind Princess having served in an ambassador role previously (she was a Woodbury ambassador in 2003 and 2004).

"The Winter Carnival is just something that's been really close to my family and I had always talked about running," Steigauf said. "I felt like it was time to focus on something besides school, so I ran, and I'm loving it."

During the competition, the girls competed for the position of "Queen of the Snows." Being chosen as a princess in the Boreas' royal court was an honor, Steigauf added.

"Each role is very important, but our queen is just kind of our spokesperson," she said. "A lot of the girls come in maybe not necessarily wanting to play the queen."

Unlike other ambassador programs or pageants, the St. Paul Winter Carnival candidates don't necessarily run on a particular platform. They just tell judges a little about themselves and what the Winter Carnival means to them.

"We didn't have anything to stand for but ourselves and the community as a whole," Steigauf, said, "and what we wanted to bring to the role."

Spreading the St. Paul pride

Both of the Woodbury women said serving as a Winter Carnival royal ambassador allows them the opportunity to travel to different cities and different states to spread the spirit of St. Paul.

"It's not just the community here, it spreads everywhere," Turner said. "You're going into this program because you want to represent the carnival. It's not 'Ooooh, I get to be a princess and wear a crown.' It's 'I get to represent the city that I love.'"

In addition to being able to spread the spirit and the story of the carnival, the princesses also said they really enjoy being able to brighten people's spirits by playing their assigned characters for the carnival audiences.

As a part of the royal family, Steigauf and Turner spent the duration of the carnival visiting schools, senior homes and work places to spread the seasonal spirit and performing at various activities in downtown St. Paul.

Last week they made a stop at Woodview Terrace Montessori school in Woodbury on Jan. 29.

"You have to love how a kid's faces light up when you come into a room -- you can bring something so special into their lives," Steigauf, said. "You want them to have that child fantasy that it is possible for a girl to be a good person and maybe fulfill your dream of being a princess -- being in that role, it is something greater."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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