On the evening of Saturday, February 3, the Sharon McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College was awash in yellow tulle, as the 2013 Daffodil Festival Royal Court was presented to the public for the very first time.
The young ladies, outfitted in their locally iconic golden-hued gowns, ushered in the beginnings of the 80th festival year—themed "The Magic of Music"—with a public event attended by family and friends, as well as members of the Festival and school officials.
The 49th Annual Princess Promenade was the official debut of the Royal Court, complete with a sword-tapping ceremony, the reading of an official proclamation—made, this year, by the 2013 Daffodil Festival President, Brad Stevens—and the bestowal of the traditional Princess garb of tiara, sash and Golden Daffodil.
This is Stevens' second time as President; he first served as head of the festival in 2009. A graduate of Mt. Tahoma High School, he believes "that each of us can make a difference," and that "it isn't a bad thing to step out of your comfort zone and get involved."
His wife and First Lady Sherry Stevens was a Princess herself in 1978, representing Lincoln High School, and his daughter Nicole was a Wilson Daffodil Princess in 2003.
The event signifies the start of the busy reign of the local high school seniors, when they will be attending community events, and participating in service opportunities—including at community Boys & Girls Clubs and Pierce County Libraries—as well as functions for other area organizations before the Grand Floral Parade on April 13th.
This past festival year, the Royal Court spent approximately 5,078 hours serving their community, attended 184 events centered around children and read over 380 books to 3,650 kids at local libraries.
They also attended 26 other festivals and parades within the Pacific Northwest, taking the name of Pierce County along with them, as they have for decades.
Because of this, last year, the Pierce County Council decided to bestow an additional honor upon the 24 Daffodil Festival Princesses, with the title of Official Ambassadors of Pierce County.
The title serves as a very legitimate recognition of the effort these ladies invest in representing their schools and communities in out-of-town parades and festivals, as well as within their home county.
These service-minded young women give countless hours to their communities through the festival, but what they receive in return can be worth so much more.
Christine Smith, a 2010 Daffodil Princess from Mt. Tahoma High School, and one of the emcees for the evening's events, initially didn't know what to think of her royal title; however, she soon found "friendships that would last a lifetime."
"My Daffodil sisters are some of my best friends," she told the crowd, "and I am so excited for these girls to experience this amazing journey."
The Daffodil Festival may have originated 80 years ago in celebration of the flower from whence it derived its name, but even though most of the Puyallup Valley fields have gradually made way for stores, schools, families, and communities, the Festival continues to celebrate the great things growing within Pierce County.
Information about upcoming events is located on the Daffodil Festival's new website, thedaffodilfestival.org.