Festival crowns royalty
Courtesy of North County Outlook
Festival crowns royalty
A surprising announcement resulted in a 4-person royal court.
The March 23 April Friesner Memorial Scholarship Crowning Ceremony, held at the Marysville-Pilchuck auditorium, also included its fair share of surprises.
In the end, the festival welcomed four impressive young people to serve as the 2013 Senior Royals: Queen Madison Doty, Prince Derek Groves, Prince Israel Lopez and Princess Franqui Rojas. Junior royalty representatives are Cassandra Kunselman, Criscia "CC" Rinaldi and Erika Krause.
Keeping with the "Fiesta" theme for this year's festival, the Saturday night event began with a vibrant dance number, choreographed by Wendy Messarina Volosin and performed by the senior royalty candidates and their escorts. It was a fun and high-spirited way to start the evening, and all the dancers did an admirable job.
In lieu of a talent presentation, candidates gave short speeches about the meaning of "fiesta" modeled their favorite comfortable clothes, and answered impromptu questions asked by emcee Jim Ballew. Scoring by the three judges, two from the Hyack Festival in New Westminster, B.C., and one from the Apple Blossom Festival, was added to points awarded to the contestants during their previous appearances before several community organizations, the school board and City Council, and the Maryfest committee.
Several moments throughout the evening elicited strong reactions from the audience.
Anna Marie-Mudd, a 2012 festival princess, joined Miss Westminster Amanda Zacharuk to perform both the Canadian and American national anthems in an a capella rendition. Forrest Brown was entertaining as he modeled his "comfortable outfit": a kilt, clown tie, Mickey Mouse ears and ear-to-ear grin. Franqui Rojas shared a personal story of her parents' love and courage in the face of her own risky birth. Israel Lopez shed layers of clothing as he talked about the strength of letting your own personality and beliefs guide you.
When Ballew presented the Bob Klepper Congeniality Scholarship, which is decided by the contestants themselves, he surprised the audience by announcing there was a three-way tie. Forrest Brown, Kalyah Bojang and Madison Doty shared the honor, with each receiving a $200 scholarship.
The three junior royalty representatives will each receive a $150 scholarship prize for their service during festival season and beyond. The young ladies will also have the opportunity to travel with the float to neighboring cities during other festivals.
Last year's senior royals, Anna-Marie Mudd and Briaunna Hansen, were onstage to place crowns, drape sashes and bestow floral bouquets on the winners. The crowd waited as Ballew announced the three members of the Senior Royal Court Ð Prince Israel Lopez, Prince Derek Groves and Queen Madison Doty.
The top vote-getter is awarded a $5,000 scholarship, with her attendants receiving $3,500 scholarships each from Maryfest.
But the biggest surprise of the evening happened after the ceremony had concluded and guests were gathered for a reception in the downstairs lobby. Festival officials announced that there had been a tallying error, and a fourth candidate would join the Senior Royal Court. Franqui Rojas took her place as Princess, as her family beamed with pride.
So the 2013 Strawberry Festival and the City of Marysville will be represented by a contingent of four outstanding young people, supplemented by three impressive sixth-graders.
It's probably worth noting that both Franqui and Madison served as Junior Royals when they were sixth-graders, and the girls who currently hold that title: Cassie, CC and Erika--will no doubt blossom into strong, confident young women as well.
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