The king or queen of this year’s Strawberry Festival will be crowned at the annual April Friesner Memorial Royalty Pageant on March 2.
The pageant returns to the Marysville-Pilchuck High School auditorium at 5611 108th St. NE, Marysville from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The king or queen will be crowned at the end of the event, along with a royal court and junior royalty members.
There are nine royalty candidates this year, including Marysville Getchell High School students Sequoia Alpine, Chloe Braaten, Emma Burkett, Alexandria Gehrman, Jael Hudon, Alexa Mendoza and Cassie Snyder and Marysville-Pilchuck High School students Brionna Olson and Natalia Zieroth.
However, there are only two candidates for junior royalty this year, Emma Abele and Karis Lewis, who are both Tenth Street Middle School students.
Maryfest plans to crown both at the pageant still, according to Jodi Hiatt, president of Maryfest and this year’s pageant director.
Candidates will give a speech about this year’s theme, which is “#MarysvilleWA,” intended to make candidates think of “what you see in the future.”
They will also give a talent performance. This year includes a couple of musical numbers, singing, dancing and a couple of demonstrations (such as kung fu and golf).
“This group is very musically talented. I could put together a whole band with them,” said Hiatt.
Hiatt said that the event is a good opportunity to meet some of the local youths that make up Marysville.
“I like that I get to meet all these great kids. You always hear about the bad kids on the news, but that’s just one or two of them and there are a lot of great kids out there,” she said.
In the lead up to the pageant the kids talk at various public venues, including city council meetings and local service groups, to practice their speeches.
Hiatt said she enjoys working with them as they get better at speaking in front of people.
“This may sound weird, but the rehearsals are probably the favorite part for me, because after a couple of them, that is when I get to see the kids loosen up for the first time,” she said.
She hopes that people will come out to see some of the best kids in the community.
“I hope they like to come and see the kids as well. I get comments from first-time comers all the time saying ‘oh my gosh, these kids are so good,’” said Hiatt.
Those who attend the pageant are helping to support the Strawberry Festival and the royalty.
“They’re helping to support the younger generation by coming out. They’re also supporting the Strawberry Festival, but I hope they come for the kids,” said Hiatt.