The Santa Lucia Festival Queen is an important and admired aspect in the history of the festival. The very first queen was named in the festival's 5th year, 1929. In those early days, the committee had difficulty narrowing down the list of potential candidates. Many young women in the Little Italy neighborhood dreamed of being named the Santa Lucia Festival Queen.
The tradition of naming a Santa Lucia Festival Queen was a way to honor those families that displayed their financial generosity to the festival committee. Candidates would raise money through a ticket raffle. The candidate who sold the most tickets, raising the most money, would be honored as queen. It was a way for young women and their families to show their devotion to Santa Lucia. The funds generated all went toward planning and preparations for the next year’s festival. Without former queens and candidates, it would have been difficult for the festival to run consecutively for over nine decades.
Today’s candidates still sell raffle tickets, but an academic and community service component has also been included.
The Santa Lucia Queen
Sayler Maggiore Nacke has began attending the Santa Lucia Italian Festival since she was 4 years old. As soon as she could see over the counter, she started volunteering in the Pizza Booth, and has continued to make the traditional pizzas ever since. However, she always felt like she wanted to be a bigger part of the festival. "I have always looked up to the Queens, and the candidates. I always wanted to run to be queen, and I'm so excited that I can say I'm part of this elite group of women", said Nacke.
Sayler is 16 years old and attends Elkhorn South High school. She'll be graduating and heading to college after this year, but has not yet selected a university. Sayler says she enjoys being around her siblings and family, as well as friends.
YOU COULD BE NEXT
All prospective candidates must be baptized Catholic and 14 – 21 years of age. Please download and complete Queen Candidate Application, then email to
The Santa Lucia Queen is selected based on three criteria – Academics, Community Service and Raffle Ticket Sales.
All applicants must attend the Queens Kickoff Dinner that is held in the Spring.
The Queens Kickoff Dinner is held for prospective candidates and their families.
Community Service begins in March and the date is to be determined at the Queens Kickoff Dinner. Information about Raffle Ticket Sales will also be discussed at this dinner.