Pilot story and photos

by Bill Schlichting

Tarah Dougherty was chosen Saturday night to reign over the Azalea Festival scheduled Memorial Day weekend.

The decision came during the Azalea Pageant in the Brookings-Harbor High School (BHHS) gym. Dougherty was crowned by 2004 Azalea Queen Andrea Green, who has been attending Southern Oklahoma State University.

Five judges - two from Crescent City, two from Gold Beach and a former Brookings resident now living in Roseburg - rated princesses Dougherty, Jessica Wood, Kristi Bansemer, Kristin Weichers and Lindsey Davis on their essay, talent competition, interview, evening gown and street attire presentation.

Davis was chosen first runner up and was the winner of the talent competition. Weichers was chosen Miss Congeniality. Bansemer was congratulated for selling the most tickets.

The evening began with the princesses performing a dance routine choreographed by former Azalea Pageant runner-up Amanda Ingram. The girls were introduced by Steve Braun and Carol Byers, master and mistress of ceremonies.

Each princesses showed their talent skills.

Dougherty presented a monologue: the politically correct version of andquot;Little Red Riding Hood.andquot;

Wood danced to andquot;Singing in the Rainandquot; wearing a raincoat and holding an umbrella.

Because she enjoys cooking and plans to make nutritional science her career, Bansemer presented a program titled andquot;Cooking with Kristi.andquot; She demonstrated how to make Kristi's Four Step Fantasy Bars, a chocolate pastry. Just like a TV cooking show, Bansemer had pastries prepared, which she presented to the judges. The judges showed they couldn't be influenced with chocolate. The pastries remained untouched for the duration of the program.

Weichers, accompanied by Virginia Riddle, sang andquot;Breakaway.

Davis performed a jazz dance routine which impressed the judges, earning her the most points in the talent competition.

Donning street attire that was more suited for an informal special occasion, the princesses introduced themselves and told of their plans for after graduation next month.

Finally came the evening gown competition where each girl had to curtsy at the end of the runway and then answer a question selected by the judges. During this portion of the program, the princesses were escorted and presented roses by members of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River. Parents and friends also presented flowers prior to the announcement of the winners.

After the announcement that Davis was selected first runner up, the remaining four girls held hands in anticipation while Green stood behind the girls holding the crown, finally placing it on Dougherty's head.

Dougherty was thoroughly surprised.

andquot;I was completely shocked,andquot; Dougherty told the Pilot. andquot;I wasn't expecting to win. It was the most surprising moment of my life.andquot;

Between competition events, entertainment was provided by Jessica Goergen singing a medley that began with andquot;I Love Rock and Roll.andquot; She was accompanied by a guitar, bass guitar and drums.

A dance routine by one of the judge's 10-year-old daughter was presented as were songs performed by BHHS choir members Daniel Rufener, Ty Harroun and Mason Johns accompanied on piano by Jerry Moffit, district vocal music director.

In addition to being introduced to the princesses at the pageant, the audience had the opportunity to meet the contestants for the upcoming Mr. BHHS contest. This all-male spoof of beauty pageants is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at Redwood Theater.

Following the pageant, a reception was hosted in the gym foyer by parents and friends of the princesses.

Princesses were chosen from several applicants in December by a scholarship board.

Since their selection, the princesses were given speech, poise, etiquette and esthetics training.

In addition to selling tickets, each princess had to raise $800 for wardrobe and travel expenses.

Funds remaining from ticket sales and from sponsorships are divided among the court in the form of scholarships. The queen and talent winner each received a $100 Savings Bond.

The princesses will continue to make appearances at community events through the Azalea Festival, including riding a float in the festival parade. Dougherty also will give Queen's Choice awards at various shows during the festival.