By BILL SCHLICHTING
Iris Wraith was chosen by a panel of judges to reign over the 2002 Azalea Festival scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.
She was crowned by last year's runner up, Amanda Ingram, during the Azalea Pageant Saturday night in the Brookings-Harbor High School gym.
Wraith was selected from princesses Bobbie Jo Carter, Danielle Lawrence, Erin Rose Gardner and Michelle Fugere.
Winning first runner-up was Carter, who will perform the duties of the queen in her absence, as did Ingram, who filled in for 2001 Queen Elaine Prevenas, who is attending college in Madison, Wis.
Unlike previous years, the talent winner was not chosen queen because of a change in the weight of the points earned, officials said. Winning the talent award was Lawrence, who performed a classical piano piece.
Lawrence also won the congeniality award, an honor given by her peers.
The fifth award bestowed during the pageant is for selling the most tickets. This went to Gardner.
All princesses receive scholarships based on proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships after expenses. The amount is to be announced within the next few weeks, pageant officials said. An additional scholarship is awarded to best talent, a $50 savings bond for most tickets sold and a gift for Miss Congeniality.
This year's pageant had a military honors theme. During the opening number, princesses paraded onto the stage, each wearing a uniform from a different branch of the military.
As they marched onto the stage, they were introduced by master and mistress of ceremonies Darrel Erb and Carol Byers.
The stage was patriotic, adorned with a U.S. flag and the letters U.S.A.
Following the introduction of the judges, who were John Schase, Lisa Hardy and Debra Wright of Crescent City, and Rachelle Schaaf and Charlie Steak of Gold Beach, the princesses performed their talents.
In addition to Lawrence's winning performance, Carter performed a Tae Kwon Do routine, Wraith told her life story in song and in a video she created, Gardner performed the song "God Bless the U.S.A." in sign language while a patriotic video was played, and Fugere sang.
Also included in the competition was modeling street and evening attire, and an interview question.
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The question asked was "What can be done for the youth of Brookings to improve their school and community?
Carter emphasized the need for parental involvement. Lawrence told of the importance of a strong family foundation.
Wraith said schools need more money especially for supplies. "We don't want the teachers to have to say Don'tdraw on that paper, we need it for a test later.' "
Gardner said that youth need to get out of Brookings for awhile to understand other cultures. Fugere said teens need to be dedicate time to volunteer to work with younger children.
During the presentation of attire and the princesses themselves, they were escorted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River. Escorts were Petty Officer Justin Young, Seaman Alex Thompson, Seaman Ben Snider, Fireman Jerry Hunter and Fireman Michael Mueller.
Entertainment was provided by Dance Art Studios of Crescent City. Various groups performd four dances. Former Azalea Queen Katy Harding returned to Brookings to perform a dance number to "You Just Don't Call Me Anymore."
While statistician Clar Byers tallied the judges' scores, Azalea Middle School's jazz ensemble Sound Wave performed a medley of dance tunes. The choir was directed by Brookings-Harbor School District director Jerry Moffit. The peformance featured several soloists.
Following the crowning, family and friends of the Azalea court hosted a reception in the cafeteria.