THERE is a new queen in Knox and she goes by the name of April Himmelreich.
The Basin CFA member was last week named as one of seven Moomba Monarchs for the festival on Labour Day.
She was honoured for her contribution to the community. along with members of Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, DSE, SES, St John's Ambulance and MFB.
Ms Himmelreich said choosing regular community members for the monarch made it a "people's festival".
"It brings it back to the people, a sense of normality. Probably the most amazing part of it all is to represent an organisation that I am so proud and passionate to be a part of.
"But I couldn't do it without everyone else; there is so much support."
The mother of three, who has been involved with the CFA for 15 years, was put forward for the role by members of the CFA, although just who nominated her remains a mystery.
She is an operational firefighter and community relations officer at The Basin CFA, a role that involves teaching more than 600 preschool and primary school-aged children each year about fire safety.
"The benefit of the CFA is that there are so many roles, you don't have to be just a firefighter. You can do both and that works for me. There are diverse roles in every brigade."
Ms Himmelreich has also developed a stage production about fire safety that she performs around the state with Captain Koala.
She believes that honouring emergency services volunteers now is timely because many are sacrificing so much to protect the state from fires and other disasters. "Being the queen is not about me, it's about representing the 56,000 CFA volunteers," she said. Moomba holds fond memories for Ms Himmelreich because she loved the festival atmosphere as a child and remembers the "tinsel wigs, bells on a stick and watching the parade in awe".
The Basin CFA captain Matt Ahern said the role was fantastic recognition for such a committed member.
"The work that April does, her energy she puts into it, it just baffles most people," Mr Ahern said.
"She is a good firefighter, but her community relations work is outstanding: the amount of hours of planning she does, pushing the right message."
Ms Himmelreich was supposed to be performing in a Captain Koala show the weekend of Moomba, which, luckily for her, was cancelled. She said being in the parade was "right up my alley". "Sharing the royal float with the other monarchs will be a once in a lifetime experience, I can only imagine it will be something wonderful."
While she does not know if she can keep the crown yet, if she is allowed to, Ms Himmelreich plans on putting it in a glass case on the mantelpiece — "no one will believe me otherwise!"
Ms Himmelreich and Captain Koala will perform this Saturday at the Knox Festival before the torchlight parade with surrounding CFA bridgades.
The Moomba Festival is on from Friday, March 8 until Monday, March 11.