By Bill Schlichting

Pilot staff writer

Rebecca Brickley will reign over the 2008 Azalea Festival.

She was selected by a panel of four judges during the Azalea Festival Scholarship Pageant Saturday in the Brookings-Harbor High School gym.

andquot;I was overwhelmed,andquot; Brickley said Monday. andquot;I was completely honored. I wish I could have shared with the other contestants.andquot;

The new queen was crowned by 2007 Queen Sara Higgins.

Brickley, the daughter of Susan and Jerry Brickley, scored well with the judges in many areas, including the talent portion of the pageant, which she won.

Prior to the pageant, Princess Rebecca recorded herself playing the bass guitar as well as the drums, and combined the two to create an accompaniment recording. The recording accompanied her while she sang and played piano at the pageant. She performed her original song, titled andquot;Believe.andquot;

Also impressing the judges was Kaitlin Lawrence, daughter of Marilyn and Harry Lawrence. She was chosen first runner-up and will take on the duties of queen in the event Brickley cannot.

Lawrence also played piano for the talent portion of the pageant. Dressed in a yellow bumble bee costume, she performed her own rendition of andquot;Flight of the Bumble Bee.andquot;

The princess who most impressed her peers was Marianne Neighbor. The daughter of Sherri and David Neighbor was chosen for the Miss Congeniality award. She also received an award for selling the most pageant tickets.

Princess Marianne signed the lyrics to andquot;Butterfly Kissesandquot; by Bob Carlisle for her talent.

Other talent presented during the evening included Justine Dodgen, daughter of Susan and Patrick Dodgen, performing a dramatic skit of a fairy tale, and Ellen Stadelman, daughter of Marjorie and Tim Stadelman, drawing a charcoal portrait.

Princess Ellen created the drawing upside-down. When she was finished, she turned the drawing right-side up to reveal the finished portrait. Les Cohen, the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director who served as master of ceremonies at the pageant, commented that he couldn't do half as good as she did if he was drawing it right-side up.

The evening began with the princesses presenting their opening dance routine, which included cartwheels. The dance was followed by the introduction of the judges, who were Sunny Fox, Kelly Schellong, Becky Ross and Sidonie Rhodes. The judges rated the princesses based on an essay, talent, an interview and presentation of evening gown and street attire. The day began for the princesses with breakfast with the judges.

Following the talent competition, entertainment was provided by Grace Notes, the Brookings-Harbor High School women's choir.

Each princess introduced herself then walked down the runway in street attire while accompanied by the music of her choice.

While the princesses were backstage changing into their evening attire, entertainment was provided by Sea Breeze, the high school's jazz ensemble. Each princess was brought onto the stage one by one, escorted by a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River. Individually, she was asked a questions chosen by the judges. After answering the question, she walked down the runway to curtsy.

Princess Marianne was escorted by Fireman Ryan Schulgen; Princess Kaitlin by Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Scott Harrison; Princess Ellen by Seaman Eric Rogers; Princess Justine by Seaman Michael Davis; and Princess Rebecca by Seaman Brian Meek.

While the judges' votes were tallied, members of the upcoming Mr. BHHS Pageant ran, skipped and anything but roller-bladed down the runway to present some form of a curtsy. The young men were previewing the annual Azalea Pageant spoof, a fundraiser for Doernbecher Children's Hospital. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at Redwood Theater. Admission is $5.

The princesses were then escorted back onto the stage where they took one last walk down the runway. Awards were presented and the queen announced.

Following the pageant was a reception in the school's multipurpose room. The reception was hosted by the parents of the princesses.

The princesses were selected in early January and immediately went to work on speech, etiquette, walking, hairstyling and make up and more. In addition to the training, each princess had to raise a minimum of $800 for wardrobe and travel expenses. Each princess will receive a scholarship.