Madison Chandler, who will be entering her final year at Chateauguay Valley Regional High School this September, was the youngest person to be crowned Queen of the Chateauguay St. Patrick’s Day parade when she was selected to rule the court last February. Since then, she has been working to organize the United Irish Crowns for a Cause fundraiser to raise awareness of the Irish societies while supporting local food banks and pantries.
“We didn’t have a lot of girls sign up,” she says of last year’s Queen Selection Evening. She explains that while it may seem like a beauty contest, the competition to be crowned queen is actually about public speaking. And, after attending numerous events and activities last spring, she says it became obvious there was a need to help younger generations get to know and understand their Irish heritage. “I also wanted to do something to give back,” she says, of the idea to organize a fundraiser centred on the Irish community.
The United Irish Crowns event will take place on September 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the BLVD Bar and Grill in Chateauguay. The fundraiser will include a breakfast buffet, Irish dancing by the Chateauguay Academy of Irish Dance, performances by all three current queens (Chandler, Esme Cavanaugh, and Samara O’Gorman), a kiddy craft corner, a meet-and-greet with past and present queens and princesses, and a silent auction.
The Chateauguay and Valley Irish Heritage Association, the Soulanges Irish Society, and the United Irish Societies of Montreal are all in support of Chandler and her efforts. All the proceeds from the fundraiser will be split between the Chateauguay Food Bank, the Katerie Food Basket in Kahnawake, and La Bouffe Additionnelle in Huntingdon.
Tickets can be purchased by completing a form available online at unitedirishcrowns.weebly.com. Additional donations of non-perishable items can be dropped off on the day of the event, and monetary donations are also being accepted.