Natalia Hemingway of St. Louis Park was chosen Wednesday night to be Klondike Kate, the gregarious and sassy character who will preside as the “Mistress of Song and Merriment” at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Seven women vied for the honor of portraying Kate by performing up to three songs in three rounds of competition until the winner was chosen. Hemingway was crowned at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale.

According to the carnival, Hemingway “recently fronted a classic rock band and has been a member of the Minnesota Ladies Arm Wrestling League! At 5 years old, she captivated the crowd at a street dance belting out ‘Achy Breaky Heart.’”

The Klondike Kate hopefuls were judged “on musical performance, song choice, vocal abilities, costuming, crowd appeal, and authenticity in portraying the real-life character Klondike Kate,” the carnival said in a news release.

A Klondike Kate has been chosen every year since 1971. The winner typically makes more than 100 appearances each year, including singing live in summer parades and many other engagements.

For more information about the 132nd Winter Carnival, which takes place from Jan. 25 to Feb. 10, go to