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New Klondike Kate chosen as St. Paul Winter Carnival approaches

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One of the surest signs that the St. Paul Winter Carnival is approaching is the choosing of a new Klondike Kate, who will entertain the crowds at various functions during the two weeks of the carnival.

Klondike Kate 2015 was crowned Wednesday evening – her name is Shelley Brown, and she's from Inver Grove Heights, the Star Tribune reports.

The competition was between Brown and four other "full-figured, full-throated women," as the newspaper described them, to play the role of the legendary dance hall queen of the late 1890s Gold Rush.

The contest was held in Oakdale before hundreds of cheering spectators and a panel of judges, who evaluated the five contestants on their musical performance, but also on how authentically they represent Klondike Kate through their choice of music, costuming and crowd appeal.

Three previous winners of the Klondike Kate contest (above) entertained the crowd Wednesday evening.

The Klondike Kate competition has been a part of the Winter Carnival for decades – the first contest was held in 1971, according to the organizers.

This year's Klondike Kate will perform during the two weeks of the Winter Carnival, but she and some Kates from previous years also make dozens of public appearances throughout the year.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival runs from Jan. 22-Feb. 1, with events planned for several locations around the city.

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