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Strawberry Festival introduces 2010 Royalty candidates

2010 Strawberry Festival candidates - Kirk Boxleitner
2010 Strawberry Festival candidates
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The eight Senior and 14 Junior Marysville Strawberry Festival Royalty Candidates have been put through their paces in preparation for the Strawberry Festival April Friesner Memorial Royalty Pageant set for March 20.

Strawberry Festival Board Vice President-Elect Jodi Hiatt explained that the young women and men will have participated in dozens of judging opportunities prior to the time they reach the pageant itself, where judges will take into account input from the community groups before which the royalty candidates have appeared. These groups have included both service clubs and municipal entities.

Senior Royalty Candidates

Aida Cardon, a 17-year-old senior at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, first competed in pageants in the Miss Fil-Am Pageant which took place this February, and her talent for the Strawberry Festival Pageant will be a Filipino folk dance.

“I wanted to try something new and get comfortable in my own skin,” Cardon said. “I’ve lived in Marysville since I was 4, so I wanted to give back to the community.”

Cardon is heading to Skagit Community College on a volleyball scholarship in the fall, but she hopes to major in computational mathematics at Western Washington University and eventually become a computer engineer and software designer.

Emily Hipp, a 16-year-old junior at M-PHS, is a first-time pageant contestant who wanted to get more involved in her community. For her talent, she’ll be playing “Comptine d’un autre été: L’après-midi,” from the movie “Amélie,” on piano.

“It really moved me, and since it’s about the summer, it fits this year’s Strawberry Festival theme of ‘summertime fun,’” Hipp said. “Talking about myself to others has been challenging because it’s a lot different from playing the piano, singing or acting.”

Hipp’s eventual goal is to be accepted into the University of Washington’s law program so that she can become a prosecutor.

Kimberlee Kipperberg, a 17-year-old junior at M-PHS, is also a first-time pageant contestant who entered this pageant to get better at public speaking. She’ll be doing a jazz dance to “Fever” for her talent.

“I feel confident doing it,” Kipperberg said of dancing. “I enjoy the music for being upbeat and fast. I’m so glad my mom gave me an extra push to try out for the pageant. I’m overcoming a lot of my fears here.”

Kipperberg is undecided about whether she’ll attend Everett Community College, the University of Washington or Western Washington University, but she did encourage other young people to give this pageant a try.

Christina Murphy, a 17-year-old senior at Mountain View High School, likewise feels more comfortable expressing herself through music rather than public speaking. The first-time pageant contestant’s talent will be singing “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles.

“I felt like I could connect with the audience that way, and we could both feel the same things,” Murphy said.

Murphy hopes to attend Seattle Performing Arts in the fall to hone her skills at singing, playing instruments and composing her own songs. In the meantime she’s enjoying the friendships she’s making through the pageant.

“It’s not even like a competition, since we hang out and help each other out,” Murphy said.

Haley Otto, a 17-year-old junior at M-PHS, is running-start student at Everett Community College. She credits her friend, outgoing Senior Royalty Queen Shelby Hintze, with piquing her own interest in the pageant. For her talent, she’ll be playing “Big Rock Candy Mountain” from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” on the ukulele.

“I taught myself to play the ukulele, so I thought that would make me different,” Otto said.

After she gets her associate’s degree, Otto expects to attend the University of Washington or Central Washington University to major in journalism and minor in Spanish.

Lauren Stallcup, a 16-year-old junior at M-PHS, has been competing in pageants for the past two years. She got into it after seeing fellow students at her dance studio gain more confidence on stage from being pageant contestants themselves. She’ll be dancing to “Lyrical” for her talent in this pageant.

“I like the emotion of the song, and I want to draw the audience in,” Stallcup said.

Stallcup plans on attending either Western Washington University of Washington State University to major in literature or journalism.

“Just be yourself,” she told other young people who are considering entering pageants themselves. “You’ll be judged by who you are, not who you try to be.”

Ella Stefoglo, an 18-year-old senior at Lakewood High School, has aspired to be a member of the Strawberry Festival Royalty Court since she saw her first Strawberry Festival parade in 2000. She almost tried out last year, but like many of her peers, found the public speaking to be a daunting prospect.

She’ll be doing a gypsy spinning dance for her talent at the pageant.

“You get to do so much fun community stuff when you enter, though,” Stefoglo said. “We’ve gone to preschools, which is great, because I love working with little kids.”

Stefoglo plans to finish her associate’s degree at Everett Community College before majoring in medicine at either the University of Washington or Seattle Pacific University.

Kaija Wilcox, an 18-year-old senior at M-PHS, already has experience with parades through her time on the color guard. For her talent, she’ll be performing an Italian aria.

“I love seeing the community come together,” Wilcox said. “I love being part of something bigger than myself, and I’d love to share that unity across the Northwest.”

Wilcox plans on heading off to the University of Washington’s music department in the fall. Until then, like so many contestants, she’s working on improving her public speaking.

“I’m trying hard not to say ‘um,’” Wilcox laughed. “I’ve made so many friends through these rehearsals.”

Junior Royalty Candidates

All 14 of the Junior Royalty Candidates are sixth-graders who are either 11 or 12 years old.

Britney Albro of Lakewood Middle School was inspired to compete in this pageant by helping her sister pick out dresses to compete in a different pageant.

Cassie Coate of Cedarcrest Middle School wants to build her self-confidence and public speaking skills.

Tiara Dagang is home-schooled and believes the pageant could improve her social skills.

Hannah Davis of Marysville Middle School said, “I always wanted to do a pageant so when the opportunity came up, I had to grab it.”

Claire Flagg of Lakewood Middle School sees the pageant as an opportunity to make new friends.

Tristin Galvin of Cedarcrest looks forward to going on floats and meeting new people.

Eryn Hall of 10th Street School wants to get more involved in her community.

Piper Holiday of Totem Middle School has previous taken part in the pageant’s talent and fashion shows.

Rebecca Hulse of Cedarcrest is doing this pageant “for the fun of it.”

Katie Kummerle of Totem Middle School described herself as a quiet, nervous person who wanted to break out of her shell.

Cassy Mead of Cedarcrest would like to be a positive influence on others by competing.

Keziah Nelson of Cedarcrest has enjoyed watching the parade in the past and also hopes to influence others in a positive way.

Korbyn Nelson of Cedarcrest likewise thought it would be fun to enter.

Mekaila Oaks of Marysville Middle School has also long aspired to be a parade princess.

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