By Bill Schlichting

Pilot staff writer

The Sweepstakes Trophy for best overall float in the 2008 Azalea Festival parade was an entry by the Brookings-Harbor Garden Club.

Members of the club put together a float that was adorned with plants that grow in the region, as well as animal life. The centerpiece of the float was a rotating cone that showed parade spectators scenes from four seasons, following this year's theme, andquot;Seasons by the Sea.andquot;

The winning entry was announced during the Azalea Festival park program at Azalea Park Saturday afternoon. Les Cohen, Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director, presented the trophy to Barbara Edmiston, president of the garden club.

Judging the parade floats were members of Soroptimist International of Brookings. Cohen said he talked to the Soroptimists who told him andquot;Every year it's getting harder and harder.andquot;

In addition to announcing parade entry winners, festival dignitaries -State Representative Wayne Krieger, Curry County commissioners and Brookings city council - were introduced, as well as the Azalea Festival court.

One by one the queen and princesses were escorted to the stage. Queen Rebecca Brickley was escorted by her father, Jerry Brickley, followed by princesses Kaitlin Lawrence escorted by John Dies, Marianne Neighbor escorted by David Neighbor, Ellen Stadelman escorted by Tim Stadelman and Justine Dodgen escorted by Patrick Dodgen.

KURY Radio personality Steve Braun welcomed Kent Owens, parade grand marshal, to the stage. Owens, a former Brookings police chief and Curry County sheriff, thanked those who selected him for the honor.

Owens said he was surprised when he was contacted for the honor.

andquot;Whenever the phone rang, I was expecting someone to tell me it was all a mistake,andquot; Owens said about how he felt after he was chosen.

He also offered praise to his wife, Rexine for standing behind him through all his years of law enforcement.

Braun then introduced Marie Hassett Nye, the Azalea Festival pioneer citizen.

During her interview by Braun, Nye told stories of her life, and mentioned that riding in the car with her during the parade was her sister, Leta Jackson who was an Azalea Festival princess in 1950.

She also reminisced about the slaughterhouse in the area of Azalea Park, and the cattle that were kept on the property. Because the azaleas are poisonous to cattle, they ate everything but the bushes.

andquot;That's probably why the azaleas are still here today,andquot; she said.

The final person to speak was Queen Rebecca, who thanked the many businesses and contributors in the community for making the scholarships presented to the court possible.

In addition to the Sweepstakes Trophy, other parade winners include:

?President's Trophy, for best use of flowers - Upper Chetco Fire Department engine No. 5;

?Grand Marshal's Trophy, for best use of special effects - Brookings-Harbor Red Shirts;

?Queen's Trophy, for best use of color - Candamp;K Markets Inc.;

?Mayor's Trophy, for most original - Trash Dogs.

Awards for best of categories were presented to:

?Bands - Brookings-Harbor High School marching band;

?Equestrians - Over the Rainbow riding group;

?Antique and classic cars - Harbor Fire and Rescue's 1925 Stutz fire truck.

Honorable mentions were presented to the Brookings Emblem Club 265, Stout Mountain Railroad and Curry County Board of Realtors.