The New Miss Harmony court was crowned on Saturday evening during coronation ceremonies at Wheelers in Harmony. In front is Little Miss Harmony Kathryn Pickett. In the second row are First Attendant Leah Scheevel, Miss Harmony Sara Schultz and Second Attendant Katie Kotek. MELISSA VANDER PLAS/NEWS-RECORD
The New Miss Harmony court was crowned on Saturday evening during coronation ceremonies at Wheelers in Harmony. In front is Little Miss Harmony Kathryn Pickett. In the second row are First Attendant Leah Scheevel, Miss Harmony Sara Schultz and Second Attendant Katie Kotek. MELISSA VANDER PLAS/NEWS-RECORD
The 2014 Miss Harmony, Sara Schultz, is excited to accept her new role as Harmony's ambassador. Schultz was crowned on Saturday during the Miss Harmony coronation, along with First Attendant Leah Scheevel, Second Attendant Katie Kotek and Little Miss Harmony Kathryn Pickett.

Sara explained that she is especially looking forward to enjoying the festivities on the Fourth of July, including helping out at the pancake breakfast and waving at community members from the Harmony float at the Cherry Grove and Harmony parades. She will be volunteering at several activities throughout the weekend as well, including the Harmony Hustle on Saturday morning and the children's games in the park on Saturday afternoon.

While she and her attendants will all be seniors at Fillmore Central this fall, Sara said she is especially looking forward to getting to know Leah and Katie better and forming new memories with them as they represent Harmony in the coming year. She is also looking forward to spending time with Kathryn, Little Miss Harmony, during the parades and community events coming up.

Sara explained that she participated in the Miss Harmony program this year because she likes to be involved in activities at school and in the community. "I like the opportunity to give my opinion and to try to make a difference," she said.

This is evident in Sara's list of extracurricular activities which include volleyball, National Honor Society, Teens Nurturing Teens, where she will also serve as president this year, SADD, photography club, band, color guard, drama, class officer and student council.

Sara also volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program through school and works at Preston Foods part-time.

In her free time, Sara enjoys taking nature photos and hanging out with her boyfriend, Nicholas Mensink. Together they enjoy golfing and "doing outdoor things" such as shooting hoops and playing volleyball. She also participates in a summer volleyball league in Winona during the month of June.

While Sara thought she might be too busy to participate in the program at first, she recalled how last year's court and participants had enjoyed the week of activities so much. "Even the girls who didn't get on the court talked about how much fun they had and I wanted to be a part of it," she said.

The week before coronation is filled with volunteering opportunities during the day and recreational activities in the evening. Her favorite event of the week was serving snacks to the nursing home residents and playing bingo with them afterwards. "There were so many smiling faces when we came in," she said. "I think they were glad to be able to visit with some young people. I think that was the most rewarding experience of the week."

Surprisingly, Sara really enjoyed the one-on-one interview with the judges. She admitted she was nervous before the interview began, but said once they started talking, she relaxed and had fun. "The time went by so fast. It's easy for me to keep talking," she admitted with a grin.

Her favorite part of coronation day, however, was when she was given the opportunity to present her commercial to the community members attending coronation on Saturday night. "It was fun to have the public see it and react to it," she said. "I think they really enjoyed it."

Sara wrote her commercial about all the things Harmony has to offer and included a plug for her sponsor, On The Crunchy Side. She said she was very appreciative to owners Miles Petree and Lisa Miller and added, "I don't think I could have picked a better sponsor!"

When it came time for coronation, Sara thought she had a good chance to be part of the court, just as much as all the other girls, but when it came time to crown Miss Harmony, Sara was surprised to be chosen. "I was surprised," she admitted, but quickly added she was also very excited and appreciative.

In addition to the title, Miss Harmony and her attendants receive a scholarship to help with college. Sara said she plans on attending college to pursue a teaching degree in elementary or in a field for kindergarten through eighth grade.

Sara wanted to thank Amanda Heibel, Allison Whalen and Emily Kiehne for coordinating the program, planning the week and coronation. "They got us involved a lot and the program would not be what it is without them," she added.

She also thanked the Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce for funding the program and her parents, Susie and Terry, and her brother, Cody, for being so supportive.

Sara said she is very excited about all of the volunteer opportunities that await her this year and looks forward to representing Harmony at local and regional events.

One can meet Sara and her fellow Miss Harmony royalty during a meet and greet in Selvig Park following the parade on Friday. She and Leah and Katie will also be helping out at the pancake breakfast on Friday morning at the Harmony fire hall, which the Harmony Conservation Club serves from 7 to 9:30 a.m.

Other Fourth of July highlights

The Fourth of July weekend kicks off on Thursday evening with the beer tent opening at 5 p.m. at the north side of Selvig Park. A DJ will be playing music from 8 to midnight.

Friday opens with the pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. to 9:30 at the fire hall. The kids' pedal pull will be held in the parking lot behind the bank, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Toad races at the Village Green begin at 11 a.m.

Activities in the park, such as mini golf, bounce houses and more are planned for kids from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The kiddie parade begins at 2:45 p.m. with the grand parade to follow at 3 p.m. Joe and Lantha Stevens are this year's grand marshals.

After the parade, bingo will be offered in the Selvig Park shelter beginning at 4 p.m. as well as Little Blue Choo rides for the kids. The Jim Busta Band with "Mollie B" will be performing from the gazebo in Selvig Park from 4 to 7 p.m.

Karaoke Joe will be in the beer tent from 8 to midnight and fireworks will be set off from the north park at dusk.

On Saturday, start off the morning with a run or walk on the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail and support Habitat for Humanity's Harmony Hustle. The 10K starts at 7:30 a.m. with the 5K following at 9 a.m. A kids' challenge is at 10 a.m. for kids 10 and under.

An old fashioned kiddie carnival will be offered in Selvig Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be free carnival games and popcorn for kids. Free mini golf will also be offered at the same time.

The evening will feature a DJ in the beer tent from 8 to midnight.

Sunday offerings will include an ecumenical church service in Selvig Park with a brunch to follow.

In case of inclement weather, park activities throughout the weekend will be moved into the high school.

Food vendors will be in the park on the Fourth of July as well as Saturday. Local restaurants and bars will also be open during the weekend to offer meals and refreshments to local and visiting holiday guests.

Come to Harmony for the Fourth of July and experience "The Spirit of Harmony!"