2007-08-30 / News

Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund Enjoys Straits Visit

By Paul Gingras

Kirsten Haglund, Miss Michigan 2007, poses atop a Mackinac Bridge tower Saturday, July 28. Standing hundreds of feet above the water caused her to appreciate the courage of the bridge workers who labored above the Straits of Mackinac when the structure was only partially complete, she said. (Photograph by Valdor Haglund) Kirsten Haglund, Miss Michigan 2007, poses atop a Mackinac Bridge tower Saturday, July 28. Standing hundreds of feet above the water caused her to appreciate the courage of the bridge workers who labored above the Straits of Mackinac when the structure was only partially complete, she said. (Photograph by Valdor Haglund) When Kirsten Haglund, Miss Michigan 2007, stood atop a Mackinac Bridge tower Saturday, July 28, she found herself immersed in history, in awe of the landscape, and honored to share the 50th anniversary of Mighty Mac with Miss Michigan 1957, Valerie Strong Agresta, whom she had met the night before at the Kewadin Shores Casino anniversary banquet.

Near a replica of the bridge, made of cake, they had talked about the history of the Miss America organization, which began in 1921.

They discussed how the Miss America pageant has changed over time, and Miss Haglund spoke of Mrs. Agresta's ride in the first car across the Mackinac Bridge when it opened in 1957. Miss Haglund ponders what it will be like if she returns 50 years from now, when the bridge turns 100.

Valerie Strong Agrest (left), Miss Michigan 1957, and Kirsten Haglund, Miss Michigan 2007, at the Mackinac Bridge anniversary celebration banquet. Valerie Strong Agrest (left), Miss Michigan 1957, and Kirsten Haglund, Miss Michigan 2007, at the Mackinac Bridge anniversary celebration banquet. When she was crowned June 16, Miss Haglund discovered that her first appearance as Miss Michigan would be at the bridge anniversary celebration. At the anniversary banquet, a retired bridge worker suggested that she don her tiara and ascend to the top of the bridge tower, where she could look across both of the peninsulas she represents.

"I love that kind of stuff," she told The St. Ignace News.

Standing at the top of the bridge gave her a powerful appreciation for the bravery of the workers who built the bridge.

While in St. Ignace for the bridge anniversary celebration, Miss Michigan sang the National Anthem before the parade, rode in the parade through the city, helped at a T-shirt painting tent, and enjoyed a cruise on the Straits with Governor Jennifer Granholm, where she watched the fireworks.

Her most memorable experience of the celebration occurred when the Mackinac Bridge Authority brought regular traffic to a halt and closed the bridge for the anniversary parade. She crossed in a 1958 Oldsmobile, followed by Mrs. Agresta, who rode in horse-drawn carriage.

On the bridge she enjoyed a beautiful view, and joined parade queens and local politicians, including Governor Jennifer Granholm and former governors James Blanchard and William G. Milliken, yet another honor, she said.

Miss Haglund is the second member of her family to serve as Miss Michigan. Her grandmother earned the tittle in 1944.

This summer, Miss Haglund, a resident of Farmington Hills, has been involved in a host of celebrations and festivals. Being Miss Michigan is a service, she explained. She travels the state speaking to clubs about topics including the Children's Miracle Network.

This summer, Miss Haglund has spoken at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. She also works with the Right Decisions, Right Now program, which encourages middle school students to make good choices regarding tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and bullying. In addition to helping children, she makes a personal point to promote awareness of eating disorders.

Being Miss Michigan is a temporary position. Now that she is a state winner, she will compete against her peers for the Miss America title in January.

"I could not be more proud to represent Michigan," she said.

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