Sweet Smell of Roses Means the Rose Festival is Here

The 69th annual Texas Rose Festival opened Thursday, with a new queen doing the honors.   This year, the rose queen and her court will honor "Manhattan Magic".

"I do it for the community for the roses," says Audrey Bell.

As a little girl, Audrey Bell carried the 1990 rose queen's train.  This week, she'll wear the beautiful gown herself.

"Well, I never imagined because it's kind of like a fairy tale and I grew up looking up to all of them and always wanted to be one," says Bell.

The Van graduate and TCU sophomore comes from a family where the Texas Rose Festival is a tradition, dating back to her great grandfather, as well as..... "My great aunt was a queen I think like in '39."

That family tie is what makes the Rose Festival so special to Audrey and everyone who joins her in celebrating Tyler's heritage.

"I've grown up loving it," says Bell. "because they love it and I am glad to be doing it with them." Audrey says her reign as Rose Queen is about more than just wearing the crown, it's about one of Tyler's most prized possessions.

"I just hope to promote the rose growing industry to everyone in the community and get everyone involved and so they can see the beautiful roses that we have here and that we are blessed with a lot of great things," says Bell.

As an ambassador for Tyler this week, Audrey hopes the thousands of tourists will enjoy all the Rose Festival has to offer keeping them coming back year after year.