For more than 70 years the De Soto Heritage Festival has celebrated the beauty and talent of ten special young women from the community by naming them tothe esteemed De Soto Queen's Court.
These young ladies are a special and select group. Candidates are recommended by the community and then the Hernando De Soto Historical Society makes its choices on the basis of character, appearance, scholastic ability, high morals, and personality.
The De Soto Queen's Court serves as good will ambassadors for the Hernando De Soto Historical Society and Manatee County. Two of the 10 young women will be chosen to serve as De Soto Queen and Princess for one year. All ten receive scholarship assistance from the Conquistador Historical Foundation.
In 2008, the Hernando DeSoto Historical Society began organizing a reunion of Past Queens and Princesses as part of the 2009 70th Anniversary Celebration. 1972 Queen Veenie Goodson and 1991 Queen Sherri Buete were asked to organize events and locate the past Queens and Princesses. This was no easy task, as there wasn’t even list of Past Princesses in existence at that time. Together the duo located more than fifty attendees, many of whom traveled from out of state just for the opportunity to see old friends and pay their respects to an organization that changed them forever.
That weekend was a revelation. We didn’t feel like strangers-- instead we felt strangely connected. We were all awestruck by the accomplishments of the women in that room, and bound together as kindred spirits who had shared something extraordinary. Past Queen after Past Princess made a promise to keep in touch with the group.
Ten years later
The Sisterhood of the Crown is forty members strong, and regularly gives back to our home community of Manatee County through efforts of scholarship, support, and philanthropy.