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Louie crowned queen

Louie Deraita Bill Schlichting/The Pilot
Louie Deraita Bill Schlichting/The Pilot
Princess Louie Deraita’s eyes opened in shock and her hands flew to cover her mouth Saturday night when emcee Les Cohen announced that she is the 2012 Azalea Festival Pageant Queen.

“It’s unbelievable,” Deraita said. “I cannot believe it. I’m so surprised. I’m so shocked.”

Princess Roxanne Gothard was first runner-up. 

“It’s a really great feeling,” Gothard said. I did want queen, but I’m really happy for Louie (Deraita). She deserves it.”

Jamie Alto, Emerald Dodson and Breanna Moen are the other three princesses who participated in the 2012 pageant. 

The Miss Congeniality award, given to the most helpful and encouraging princess, was awarded to Moen. 

Gothard, who sang and accompanied herself on piano to “New Beginning,” her original song, earned the Talent Winner award, and Alto won the Ticket Sales Award for selling the most tickets. 

“It was everything I’d hoped it would be,” Alto said. “I’m so thankful.”

Dodson enjoyed the pageant as well.

“I thought it went wonderfully,” Dodson said. “I thought everything that happened was great. It went by so fast. Louie definitely deserved queen. She did a lot of work.”

Moen also enjoyed being a princess.

“It was the most memorable experience,” Moen said. “I honestly don’t know how to put it into words at this moment.”

 The annual scholarship pageant was held at the Brookings Church of the Nazarene. Carol Byers, Heather Holt and Becky Ross judged the pageant.

All five princesses performed an opening dance  that fit this year’s theme, “Royal Glo,” showed their best talent, speaking ability, performing and modeling of street and evening gown attire.

Deraita performed a lyrical dance to “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele, Gothard performed her original song, Alto sang “Free To Be Me,” by Francesca Battitstelli, Dodson tap-danced to “Mushaboom” by Feist, and Moen sang and accompanied herself on piano to “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. 

 For the street attire presentation, each princess walked to a song that represented her and wore an outfit that matched her personality. 

During the evening gown presentation, each princess was asked what changed in how she saw the other princesses after breaking through first impressions.

The girls were escorted by U.S. Coast Guard members James Lenkiewiez, Timothy Card, Michael Tenney, Michael Scannell and Christopher Beard.

In between the talent competition, street attire and evening gown presentations, Brookings-Harbor High School Grace Notes and Sea Breeze choirs performed. 

1961 Azalea Queen Randi Darger, and her daughter, 1983 Azalea Queen Sue Darger-Smith, spoke about how the pageant has changed as well.

Darger said the year she was crowned queen was the first year only senior girls could compete.

In years prior, it was  open to juniors and seniors. 

Darger also said the queen was determined by a popular vote, and instead of a pageant, there was a dance. 

Darger-Smith said when she was crowned queen in 1983, the pageant was held at the Elks Lodge. 

She said her pageant was very similar to this one – there were talent and evening wear presentations.

Finally, there was a video presentation by 2011 Azalea Festival Pageant Queen Liz Lindley. 

Lindley, who is a student at Smith College, was unable to attend, but sent pictures of her school and talked about her college experience in a video that was played for the audience.

The five princesses were selected in December, and have prepared for the pageant and their roles in the Azalea Festival over Memorial Day weekend since January. 

The five princesses were judged on their street attire and poise, talent, evening gown, an essay and interviews with the judges during a breakfast Saturday morning. Each princess also had to raise a minimum of $800 for wardrobe and travel expenses. 

In March, the girls were introduced to the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce and received their tiaras.

During the Azalea Festival Memorial Day weekend, the queen and her court will be featured in the parade. 


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