Marysville Strawberry Festival crowns royalty | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — Although the limited number of candidates for this year’s Marysville Strawberry Festival Royalty meant that everyone still in the running was crowned on the evening of March 1, the Senior Royalty candidates still needed to speak before a trio of judges to determine who would be named the king or queen, and who would be named the prince or princesses.

Briauna Hansen, a senior at Marysville Getchell High School, was crowned this year’s Strawberry Festival queen in the Marysville Library, while Lars Kundu and Anna-Marie Mudd, two juniors at Marysville Getchell, were crowned prince and princess, respectively.

All three Senior Royalty candidates were asked to deliver speeches on this year’s Strawberry Festival theme of “Just Imagine,” which prompted Kundu to cite imagination as a key component of humankind’s intellectual and societal progress, while Mudd asserted the importance of faith by describing one aspect of imagination as “the faith that you can do better tomorrow than you’ve done today.”

For her part, Hansen asked her listeners to “Just imagine a revitalized downtown Marysville,” and proceeded to outline some very specific steps that she believes would benefit the city’s businesses and foster a stronger sense of community, from mixed-use buildings which combine ground-floor businesses with upper-floor residences, to architectural styles that would create a more consistent look for the city’s merchants while also affording cover from the rain and extra vantage points for parades.

“People still think of this as a bedroom community,” Hansen said. “We have so much to offer, but we need to show it.”

Sixth-graders Cheyenne Coe of Totem Middle School, Asheley Krutsinger in the Lakewood School District, and Vanessa Page and Angela Stefoglo all made their public debut as Junior Royalty candidates that evening, and all received crowns in spite of the traditional limit of three Junior Royalty Princesses for each year’s Strawberry Festival.

Not only is Angela Stefoglo the younger sister of former Senior Royalty Princess Ella Stefoglo, but Lars Kundu is also the younger brother of outgoing Senior Royalty Prince Erik Kundu, who gave his younger brother a sash and a manly hug after the coronation.

A question-and-answer session among the Senior Royalty candidates proved thought-provoking when Lars Kundu admitted that he would want to do research before deciding to which country he would want to pass on a hypothetical gift of $1 million, and became laugh-inducing when Mudd was asked which extinct species she would want to bring back.

“I wouldn’t want to bring dinosaurs back, because that could get messy,” Mudd said, before drawing laughter from the crowd by responding to Kundu’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion. “I don’t think we’ve ever really had unicorns, Lars.”

When asked what advice she would give to young people, Hansen urged them to remain strongly motivated, which she acknowledged can be difficult without a support system.

Briauna Hansen, who also received the Bob Klepper Congeniality Scholarship Award, was in tears as she was joined by mom Andee, dad Mike and stepmom Corina, all of whom cited Briauna’s hard work and community service on behalf of her hometown.

“She’s a wonderful role model for other kids,” Andee Hansen said.

“I’ve been putting my heart into my home for the longest time,” Briauna Hansen said. “I want people to know how much I love where I come from.”

Lars Kundu expressed excitement and confidence about the summer and year that lay ahead for him, while parents Michael and Nola echoed Andee Hansen’s assertion that the hectic pace of their kids’ upcoming schedule will serve as an effective preparation for real-life adult responsibilities.

“We kind of know what to expect now, after Erik,” Nola Kundu said.

“We’re sill hoping to keep some family time together, so it looks like we’ll be taking more trips,” Michael Kundu said.

Anna-Marie Mudd admitted to being “kind of speechless” in the wake of her crowning, while mom Terri proudly described her daughter as a “go-getter” who would adjust to to an upcoming schedule that Anna-Marie deemed “busy but fun.”

“She’s always been very independent,” Terri Mudd said. “At the same time, we’re her family, so we’ll be there to support her.”

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