It's a memory she cherishes.
“I'd have to say my No. 1 memory is coming home to Hantsport during the Valley tour,” said Gallant on a sunny May morning outside the Hantsport Swimming Pool.
“I actually didn't get the opportunity to see my parents the night I was crowned,” she said, noting that they couldn't make it to the Old Orchard Inn that night for photos.
Her first time seeing them after the coronation was when she arrived in Hantsport, leading the Apple Blossom Festival's Royal Party.
“It was really emotional. I felt so thankful to have so many people there cheering me on. I say it everywhere I go, but I feel like... the term 'it takes a village to raise a child' really stays true. There are so many people who have helped me along the way,” said Gallant.
“It was really special for me to know that I had the community behind me.”
Reflecting on her time as Queen Annapolisa the 84th, Gallant says she's thankful for the experiences and the opportunities being a leadership candidate afforded her.
“It's been a really full year but it's been really great in the sense that I've gotten to meet a lot of new people. I've certainly gotten to visit places that I've never been to before,” she said.
One of those places was the annual Kingston steer barbecue.
“It really kind of blew me away to see them carrying the steer on a tractor out of the smoke shed. It's kind of reflective of our values of family and coming together and bonding over agriculture.”
Being Queen Annapolisa also helped improve her public speaking and networking skills, she said.
As Gallant prepares to hand over her title to a new Queen Annapolisa, she said she hopes this year’s leadership candidates will take the time to soak up all the experiences the festival has to offer.
“I can't believe that I'm sitting here now with a week left to go before I pass on my title to somebody else,” said Gallant. “I'd say take every moment as it comes, really try and let it all sink in because it goes really fast. Have fun with it. Don't take it too seriously; make sure you are yourself. You're nothing if you're not yourself.”
As Gallant spent a considerable amount of her reign out of province attending Bishop's University, she praised her Apple Blossom family, especially First Lady-in-Waiting Brianna Northcutt (Princess Berwick) for stepping up and helping out whenever required.
Gallant is pursuing a bachelor of science degree with the intent of either becoming a game warden or a fisheries observer. This summer, she's once again working at the Hantsport Swimming Pool, and will be the head lifeguard and swim instructor. She’s spending the last week of her reign as Queen Annapolisa getting the pool prepped for a mid-June opening —including slapping on a fresh coat of bright blue paint.
Being part of the Apple Blossom Festival is something she says is empowering and she encourages others to consider being a part of in the future.
“If you ever have the opportunity to participate in the Apple Blossom Festival, do it because this is something that is so unique to the Valley,” said Gallant.
“It's so special and so unique to the Valley so to be able to say that you participated in that, and that you gained life experiences from that, is really kind of incredible.”
The following are just a few of the upcoming Apple Blossom Festival events that the public is invited to attend.
- Opening Ceremonies; May 24 at 7 p.m. at the Annapolis Valley First Nations Bingo Hall, 29 Toney Blvd., Cambridge
- Valley Tea May 25 at 7 p.m. at Hantsport School
- Coronation of Queen Annapolisa; May 26 at 7:15 p.m. at Acadia University Convocation Hall
- Children's Parade; May 27 at 10 a.m. in Downtown Kentville
- Grand Street Parade; May 27 at 1 p.m. in Downtown Kentville
- Apple Blossom Breakfast; May 26 at 9 a.m. at the Kentville Recreation Centre
- Royal Party Valley Tour; May 28-29, various venues and times throughout the Valley.
For a complete listing of events, visit: http://appleblossom.com/events/