QUINCY -- Brenna Phillips remembers twirling around the Beaux Arts Ball dance floor as a little girl just like it was yesterday.
The 17-year-old took another turn on the dance floor Thursday night, but this time as queen of the 87th annual ball.
"I was very blessed that I got picked," said Phillips, a senior at Quincy Notre Dame High School.
Fifteen candidates vied for the crown presented to Phillips by outgoing queen Erica Ernst, daughter of John and Debbie Ernst.
Phillips, the daughter of Scott and Cindy Phillips, won the crown after a year of work to support the Quincy Art Center.
"It feels good to have the hard work pay off. It's very rewarding," said Phillips, a senior at Quincy Notre Dame. "My niece is very into the arts right now. It's neat to fund a facility that helps her create things she loves to do, and it's very important to me to help keep those doors open."
Just as important to Phillips was meeting a personal goal.
Her older sister Kaitlyn was Beaux Arts Queen nine years ago, and "it's been kind of a goal to kind of follow in her footsteps," Phillips said. "It was a lot of hard competition this year. There were a lot of girls, but I was blessed with the girls I got to work with, a lot of new friends."
First special maid was Emma Rose Schlepphorst, daughter of Dr. John and Tracy Schlepphorst. Second special maid was Molly Kathryn Kim, daughter of Suzan and the late Dr. Hoon Kim. Third special maid was Natalia Joy Fasano, daughter of Bryan and Debbie Fasano, and fourth special maid was Grace Suzanne Crickard, daughter of George and Maureen Crickard.
Quincy Art Center Executive Director Jennifer Teter said the annual ball is important to the center.
"It is our largest fundraiser that supports programs that we provide for the community," Teter said.
Queen candidates sell tickets to the event and compete for the Beaux Arts Ball Young Woman of Achievement Award, a recognition gained through service hours. This year's recipient was Sophia Marcolla, daughter of Richard and Lora Marcolla.
"All the girls spent countless hours working with the Art Center or at events hosted by the Art Center starting from the time they were sophomores," said Raquel Piazza, this year's chairman of the Beaux Arts Ball Commission. "I can't say enough about these wonderful young women. They're really the cream of the crop."
The ball, held at the Oakley-Lindsay Center, has become a Quincy tradition, spurred by the community's love of the arts. "We have a lot of pride in visual arts, and the community comes out and supports that," Teter said.
"It's such a fun family event," Piazza said. "Kids come out and have fun with their friends and families, dance the night away and usher in the holidays."
The ball has been held annually in Quincy since 1930. It was originally sponsored by the Quincy Art Club and held at the Lincoln-Douglas Hotel. Since 1940, queen candidates have helped sell tickets to the ball.
All ages turned out to chat and laugh, dance, pose for pictures and enjoy a tradition that supports the Art Center.
"I believe so much in what the Quincy Art Center means to not just Quincy but to the surrounding areas," Piazza said. "The programs that come out of the Art Center, the exhibits people get to take in. It's a truly incredible part of our community. To be part of the biggest fundraiser, the thing that basically keeps their doors open, is truly an honor and privilege."