Winter Carnival must be near: Klondike Kate is here

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You can belt out the news with bravado: Theresa McConnon of St. Paul is the new Klondike Kate.

McConnon received the prized sash and her new title Wednesday night, making her the latest in a long line of unabashed ambassadors for the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

As KARE 11 reports, McConnon has been a social worker for 30 years, has one daughter, and lives with her husband in St. Paul.

A panel of judges selected her over four other finalists based on her singing, costume and authenticity.

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As the Klondike Kates webpage explains, an entertainer named Kathleen Rockwell made her way to the gold fields of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers in 1898 and charmed audiences who knew her as Klondike Kate.

St. Paul's first Klondike Kate contest was in 1971. Over the years requests for the full-figured, flamboyant entertainer to appear at various events grew. Now there's a "Once a Kate, Always a Kate" approach, with former winners often appearing alongside the reigning Klondike Kate.

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The selection of the new Klondike Kate is a prelude to the St. Paul Winter Carnival, which this year runs from Jan. 28 through Feb. 7.

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