MARYSVILLE – Nathan Weller has been in the Marysville Strawberry Festival Parade before – just not as king.
Weller, a junior at Marysville Getchell High School, has marched in the parade as a band member since the sixth grade.
But this year he will instead stand tall on the Maryfest float. He was named king of this summer’s royalty.
Joining him are two princesses from Marysville-Pilchuck High School. They are senior Katelynn Melohusky and junior Kaitlyn Norris.
They will appear, along with the junior royalty, in the Grand Parade in downtown Marysville June 16, starting at 7:45 p.m.
Members of the court accompany the float and serve as ambassadors representing Marysville at many parades and festivals throughout the Northwest. They also make appearances at local events, activities, retirement homes and other venues.
Weller decided to get involved this year because of the scholarship opportunity. By winning the pageant he gets $5,000 from Maryfest, while Melohusky and Norris get $3,500 each. He plans to attend Brigham Young University and major in music education.
Weller said he is enjoying representing Marysville in different parades. He likes meeting the royalty from other areas, but he also likes the court he is on as he’s known both princesses for some time. “I’ve liked meeting new people,” he said.
He’s also liked visiting locales he’s never seen before – such as Wenatchee and Leavenworth.
Melohusky decided to run because a friend told her how fun it was. “I can give back to the community as well,” she said.
They have already been in a few parades and so far she likes watching the little kids as she performs the dance on the float.
She said she’s looking forward to her hometown festival parade, and also going to Canada. Melohusky plans to attend the University of Washington.
Like Weller, Norris has been in parades before as a member of the marching band.
She said being on the royalty already has helped her come out of her shell.
“I was not too involved or vocal,” she said. “I didn’t interact much. I wanted to get into the community.”
Norris said the trio has been kept very busy. Not only are they going to parades, they also are part of ribbon cuttings at businesses and other events.
They also have been involved in photo shoots and interviews. “I saw the mayor three times in one week,” she said.
On the trip to Wenatchee for the Apple Blossom Festival, they left at 4:30 a.m. and didn’t get back until late.
“I loved it, but it was absolutely insane,” she said. “For hours and hours we had to be positive and up.”
She’s also enjoyed meeting the people.
“We interact with people of all ages and walks of life,” Norris said.
The Junior Royalty princesses are seventh-graders Emmah Butler and Abigail Lewis, both of whom attend 10th Street Middle School, and Ziri Morales from Marysville Middle School.
Since they hadn’t been in any parades yet, they said their favorite part of the experience so far was “shopping.”
They got to go to the Tulalip outlet mall.
“They asked if we liked it, then we got it,” Emmah said.
She said she decided to try out for the royalty because her library teacher told her how fun it would be.
Ziri tried out because she had two sisters who previously were part of it.
“There’s too little parades,” she said of the six they take part in. “We need more.”
Ziri said she likes that she knows both of the other princesses from playing soccer and their grade school years.
“If they were strangers it wouldn’t be as fun,” she said.
She said being on the junior royalty already has helped her. “It’s boosted my confidence,” she said.
Abigail decided to run because a good friend had just been on the royalty and really liked it.
She said she always wanted to be on the royalty because she remembers being happy when she was around the princesses when she was little.
All three said they can’t wait to be in a parade. They don’t get to ride on the float like the Senior Royalty, but they do get to ride in a vehicle.
“It’s exciting,” Zita said.