The Rose of Tralee, one of Ireland's largest and longest running festivals, is searching for young ladies between the ages of 18 and 27 of Irish birth or ancestry for this year's New York/New Jersey/Connecticut Rose of Tralee competition.

The competition is to be held at the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway on April 26 and is one of 70 Rose Centers across the world which will be participating in this prestigious competition.

Organizers of the New York event, USG Performing Presenters Inc., are looking for representatives of Ireland's 32 counties to compete in the regional competition, "The Rose of Tralee Night at the Races" where the New York Rose will be selected on Sunday, April 28, at Yonkers Raceway. (All applicants must have contributed non-career volunteer
service to their communities.)

The winner will then participate in a regional final, to be held in Ireland from May 30 to June 3 and go on to represent their region at the International Rose of Tralee Festival in Tralee on August 14-20. The winner, chosen from 32 competitors from all across the globe, will be selected for her personality and her ability to serve as the festival's ambassador.

"A Rose reflects the intelligence, compassion and independence of modern Irish women," says Unateresa Gormley, who is heading up the selection efforts in the tri-state area. "Over the years, our Roses have mirrored a changing Ireland and the definition of the Irishness that is celebrated by so many different people around the world. Roses have come to reflect the widening of Irish borders and the embracing of our global diaspora in a positive and refreshing way."

Every year, more than 30 International Roses come to Tralee with their friends and family to take part in the festivities which include carnivals, fashion shows, live concerts and, of course, the Rose of Tralee selection itself. The streets of Tralee are transformed by music, parades, markets and general entertainment and the town welcomes its international visitors wholeheartedly.

The first Rose of Tralee festival began in 1959 but this year’s festival will be even more special as it is one of the biggest events of this year’s The Gathering Ireland 2013.

USG Performing Presenters, Inc., organizers of the event, are not only looking for Roses but also wish to find Junior Roses and escorts between the ages of 13 and 17 to participate in a segment of the selection process as a precursor to becoming future Rose and escort delegates.

Boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 12 are also being sought to act as honor guards of sorts to the Rose candidates. In this role, they will lead the candidates on stage for their interviews and participate in various presentations.

Irish clubs, groups, businesses and individuals are being encouraged to sponsor a Rose and a male escort for the event. To obtain an application and/or to purchase a weekend ticket package, which includes admission to the April 26 competition, dinner and races, as well as selection night on April 28, email or call Gormley at 914-715-9914. To find out more about the Rose of Tralee festival, visit


Daithi O Se, the Rose of Tralee's presenter, surrounded by the lovely RosesGoogle Images