MARYSVILLE – Heavy is the head that wears the tiara as past Marysville Strawberry Festival queens and princesses will attest, but there are three cardinal lessons they learned while having fun on the parade trail.
First, always wear sunblock.
Second, never let your arm and a child’s mouth come into contact.
Third, pet as many dogs as you can.
Outgoing princess Katelyn Melohusky said they have the sunburns and marks to prove it from the many parades they attended with the festival float last year. And, when you wear a tiara and sash, owners not only want you to pet their dog – they want pictures, too.
That advice was imparted to this year’s incoming queen and princesses who were crowned during the April Friesner Memorial Royalty Scholarship Pageant Saturday at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. (video)
From a field of eight young women, the judges selected M-P senior Natalia Zieroth to be queen, joined by senior Brionna Olson, also from M-P ,and Jael Hudson, a senior at Marysville Getchell.
Natalia said it was an adrenaline rush when she was announced queen. She was still energized during the post-reception.
“I just can’t wait to get started,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the parades, being able to get to know people and experience the whole thing… It’s going to be crazy, but I’m excited.”
The M-P golfer decided to become a candidate because she had friends who participated previously, and they always enjoyed it.
“They said that it’s really fun and a great way to get involved in the community to represent Marysville,” Natalia said.
Jael said she was grateful to be named.“It’s really an honor to be a part of this,” said Jael, who performed an uptempo Latin dance during the pageant’s talent portion. “It is a huge commitment, but I’m so ready for it.”
When Brionna heard her name called, she wondered whether emcee Peter Condyles read the card right.
“There aren’t words to describe how excited I am,” said Brionna, who used a staff to display her Kung Fu martial arts talents. “I have loved the Strawberry Festival for as long as I can remember, and I’m very excited to give back to this community.”
Natalia will receive a $5,000 scholarship, and Brionna and Jael will get $3,500 scholarships from the fund named in honor of April Friesner, a longtime volunteer with Maryfest, the organization that puts on the 10-day Strawberry Festival the third weekend in June.
Members of the royalty accompany the Maryfest parade float and serve as ambassadors representing Marysville at festivals throughout the Northwest for much of the year. They also make guest appearances at local events, activities, retirement homes and other venues.
The Junior Royalty princesses will be Emma Abele and Karis Lewis.
For royalty candidates, the pageant is the highlight following public appearances candidates make before groups like the City Council, School Board and Kiwanis, where their public speaking skills were put to the test.
Candidates are rated on talent, brief speeches and responses to impromptu questions.
In addition to Salsa dancing, martial arts and golf tips, the night featured monologues and music. Chloe Braaten played a clarinet, Cassie Snyder sang “Life of the Party” and singer Emma Burkett on ukelele belted out a rendition of “Riptide”.Emma earned the $500 Bob Klepper Congeniality Award, named after a longtime festival volunteer.