In 1980 I was fortunate to meet and interview Half Moon Bay’s Angie Praeder and Minnie Valladao–it was for the documentary [“Mystery of Half Moon Bay”] that I was working on. The beautiful ladies, both former Chamarita Queens, were filmed, but unfortunately–the video was left on the cutting room floor, as they say. Boy, I wish that hadn’t happened.
Here’s what happened that day:
Close-up of Angie, close-up of Minnie
Angie Praeder (AP): I was born in 1899, here in Half Moon Bay. I was chosen (as Chamarita Queen) when I was 19-years-old.
AP: My father was a member of the society…it was just by luck…they drew the tickets and I was lucky enough to have my name drawn and that’s how I became queen.
AP: I wore a plain dress, just a plain dress and no crown. They didn’t wear a cape then either. I was really happy about it, seems like all the girls were. Everybody liked to be queen.
AP: The march started at the IDES Hall, down Main Street and into the Catholic Church. There was a mass and the crown was blessed.
AP: The barbecue was free. The farmers donated meat. Some donated wine, some bread.
AP: I can remember if that many people came who weren’t from Half Moon Bay. See, there weren’t that many cars then, so it was mostly just people from around here.
AP: And at that time we knew everybody. Now it’s so different. You don’t know half the people. It’s really the truth. It’s all outsiders.
AP: The crown was heavy, 30 pounds.
Minnie Valladao (MV): I was born in 1905. When I was chosen queen, I was 17-years-old–that was in 1922.
MV: The “little queen” does the same thing as the “big queen.”
MV: I wore a white dress, kind of fancy. Today the girls wear capes. Otherwise, there’s not too much different.
MV: I was proud to be queen. It was really an honor.
cutaways including Angie Praeder holding a photo of herself as the Chamarita Queen.