The crowd was hushed last Friday night at the Life Center in Tacoma as the 2013 Daffodil Royal Court awaited the announcement of who would be crowned Queen of the Festival’s 80th year.
After much suspense, it was announced that after 19 years, the title of Queen would return to a Rogers High School Princess, as seventeen-year-old McKenna Erhardt was bestowed with the ceremonial crown, cape, and scepter.
Read McKenna's interview with Patch.
The newly-appointed monarch, however, was quick to share the spotlight with her Princess “sisters.”
“The 23 other girls are my sisters and I couldn't do this without them. We grow stronger every day together,” she told Patch.com. “We love each other and want nothing more than to help each other succeed.”
In the speech portion of the evening, Erhardt reflected of time spent on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico, and how the language barrier stood no chance against the unifying magic of music. This discovery held true once she returned home, and altered the way she perceived the interconnectedness of her community.
“So in the end, maybe music isn't always created by a magnificent instrument, but instead created by us, and that's what makes it so magical,” she ended, smiling.
This same emphasis on community is a hallmark of the Daffodil Festival, which has been celebrating Pierce County in a Grand Floral Parade for the past 80 years.
A glance at the audience was a veritable roll call of Pierce County’s finest: the Mayors of Lakewood, University Place, and Sumner were in attendance, in addition to the Deputy Mayor of Puyallup. Puyallup Councilman Tom Swanson also sat in the VIP section, as well, and Pierce County Councilman Stan Flemming was a member of the judging panel.
Even more marks of community outreach permeated this exclusive VIP section, as liaisons from some of the Princesses’ most cherished organizations and appearances also watched the festivities.
Judy Nelson, from the Pierce County Libraries, Stephanie Genton, from the Emergency Food Network, Carrie Holden, from Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, and Corri Lewis, from World Vision, are all key allies in the Festival’s commitment to excellence in education, and service to the community.
However, the loudest supporters, by far, were the legion of Daffodil Alumnae, returning to celebrate their Festival’s Anniversary year, and cheer on the Princesses from their respective schools.
Other notable attendees included Gary Nomenson, from Puget Sound Energy, as the company is a new addition to the roster of sponsors this year.
Chris Egan and Tracy Taylor, from King 5 News, served as the emcees for the evening’s festivities, and kept the audience entertained and the show rolling.
They were also there to help celebrate the recent decision for King 5 to televise the Grand Floral Parade. People will now be able to view the county-wide celebration from the comfort of their homes, as it takes place, on April 13.
The Daffodil Festival Royal Court has already been named Official Ambassadors of Pierce County, but this media move will extend their influence even further into the heart of their communities.
For Queen Kenna, this means an even greater fulfillment of her hopes for the 2013 Court.
“Serving the community is a group effort for us,” she told Patch.com, “and I hope one day everyone in the community will instantly be able to recognize the 24 ambassadors of their county that are working hard to serve them.”
Read The Tacoma News Tribune's interview with Erhardt here.
Some of these other hard workers within the festival included 2nd runner-upGrace Collins, Princess of Fife High School, and 1st Runner-up, .
They both share the same love for both their Daffodil “sisters,” as well as the areas they strive to represent, and couldn’t say enough good things about Coronation.
“We all had something special to bring to the table, and succeeded in doing it with as much grace, laughter and sincerity that one event could include,” said Collins.
“I am so proud of the girls who received titles, but the public needs to know that every single princess on the 2013 court is worthy of being a queen,” said Prewitt.
Prewitt was also given the title of Miss Congeniality, as voted upon by the Royal Court.
Find out more about the Daffodil Festival’s upcoming events and appearances, by checking out their official website, thedaffodilfestival.org.