PRETTY teenager Scarlett Jepson has been crowned the 2009 Carnival Queen.
The 17-year-old student, from Dent Dale, Accrington, who has brown hair and blue-green eyes, beat 19 other hopefuls to take the title at a glittering gala night in Accrington Town Hall.
She said: "I am so excited. I am actually shaking because I really didn’t think I would win."
Scarlett almost missed out on her chance to take part in the competition.
She said: "It is the first contest like this that I’ve entered and I only decided to do so on the day before the closing date. My mum told me to enter because I’ve lived in Accrington all my life."
Scarlett was cheered on by her parents Julia and Heath and 12-year-old brother Perry.
She is studying drama, theatre studies, performance studies and media studies at St Mary’s College in Blackburn, and hopes to become a drama teacher.
The day after the contest she received floods of cards and messages from friends at college congratulating her on her victory.
Scarlett added: "I am really looking forward to meeting lots of people as Carnival Queen and representing Hyndburn. It‘s really exciting."
In second place was beautician Michaela Louise Shackleton, 18, of Maple Crescent, Rishton, and third place went to Oswaldtwistle Mills employee Sonia Williamson, 21, of Mayfield Avenue, Oswaldtwistle.
The event, organised by Accrington Lions in conjunction with the Observer, included a performance by local band Something Else.
Scarlett will now lead the parade at the famous Accrington Carnival on Saturday 20 June, alongside the Carnival Princess, who is yet to be chosen.
She won £400 in cash from Accrington and Rossendale College’s Seasons Hair and Beauty Salon as well as a pamper day for two at the Dunkenhalgh Spa and a meal for two at Nico’s Restaurant in Whalley. Her Carnival Day hair and make-up will be done by Jake Alexander @ Urban and her flowers and tiara provided by Garlands Florists of Oswaldtwistle.
She also received a £100 voucher to spend at Extreme Women’s Designer Wear on Water Street, Accrington for her Carnival day dress.
Judges included Observer reporter Kate Watkins, Jake Wood from Jake Alexander’s, and Alison Cameron Bramwood from Accrington and Rossendale College.