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Strawberry Festival Royalty candidates compete March 1
MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Strawberry Festival’s Royalty candidates for 2014 will compete in the April Friesner Memorial Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, March 1, at 7 p.m. at Totem Middle School, and The Marysville Globe had a chance to chat with them in the meantime.
Of the Senior Royalty candidates, Josette Wicker is attending Marysville Getchell High School, while Rigo Perez, Brianne King and Karalyn Demarest are all attending Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Wicker, a junior whose college options currently include Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, was inspired to try out for the pageant by her friend, outgoing Strawberry Festival Senior Royalty Princess Franqui Rojas.
“My cousins were obsessed with her, and I thought, ‘I could see myself doing that,’” said Wicker, who would welcome the opportunity to be a role model to young people.
Perez, a fellow junior who aims to major in business and marketing at Washington State University, not only sees the pageant as a means of earning some extra money for college, but was encouraged to give it a shot by one of his own friends, outgoing Senior Royalty Prince Israel Lopez.
“He told me it would be a great opportunity to meet great people and have some amazing times,” said Perez, who also hopes to make his mark in the community through the pageant.
King, a senior who’s headed off to Central Washington University in the fall to major in elementary and physical education, witnessed firsthand how trying out for the Royalty Court affected her older sister in 2007.
“She didn’t make the court, but she gained so much confidence from the experience,” said King, who has lived in Marysville her entire life and wants to be part of its community through serving as a member of the Royalty.
Demarest, a junior who’s leaning toward Western Washington University to study journalism or communications, knew from the first Maryfest meeting she attended that competing for the chance to become Strawberry Festival Royalty was too fun to pass up.
“My mom brought it up as a suggestion, and it sounded awesome as soon as I checked it out,” said Demarest, who believes the Strawberry Festival has already benefitted her, even if she doesn’t win, by building her confidence, much as it did for King’s sister.
Demarest acknowledged that mustering the confidence to appear before audiences is her biggest stumbling block, while King, Perez and Wicker all agreed that honing their public speaking skills has been their biggest challenge so far.
Still, they all consider the hard work worth it, if only because of their shared desire to give back to the community they call home. While Wicker appreciates the relatively tight-knit feeling of the Marysville community, especially when compared to her former hometown of Vancouver, Wash., Perez sees this town as the place where so many of his fondest memories have been made. King likewise credits Marysville with helping to define her character through the memories and friends she’s made here, while Demarest cherishes the cultural diversity and spirit of unity in its population.
While the four Senior Royalty candidates will be trimmed by one at the pageant, the Junior Royalty candidates will be winnowed down by half, since half a dozen sixth-graders have applied to that court, including Sequoia Alpine of the 10th Street Middle School, Elizabeth Card and Gabrielle Olson of Marysville Middle School, and Alexa Mendoza, Kimberly Rodriguez and Cassie Snyder of Cedarcrest Middle School.
While Card and Snyder are most eager to ride the float, the parade itself holds more appeal to Alpine, Olson, Mendoza and Rodriguez. Olson and Mendoza love Marysville as lifelong residents. Like Olson, Mendoza appreciates the city’s series of seasonal activities, which Alpine and Snyder see as examples of its close-knit community spirit. As for Card, she simply considers Marysville “a happy, friendly place that I want to be part of.”