Pilot stories by Marjorie Woodfin

Pilot photos by Bill Schlichting

The pageant is over. The queen has been crowned. The songs have been sung, the monologues and poems delivered, the modeling and the curtsying done with style and grace, and Princess Andrea Green has been crowned Queen of the 2004 Azalea Festival.

It was an exciting moment Saturday night as the audience in the nearly filled-to-capacity Brookings-Harbor High School gym, waited in anticipation for the announcement.

Clare Byers, president of the pageant board, carried the decision from the five judges to the masters of ceremonies, former Miss Del Norte County Carol Byers and Stan Baron, chief executive officer of Chetco Federal Credit Union. When the announcement was made, the gym exploded with congratulations and applause.

It was the final moment in an evening made special by the work of many, including the princesses, their families, and the members of the board and committee who planned, decorated, trained, groomed, and encouraged the five participants in an experience of a lifetime.

The princesses were judged on personality, poise, projection, talent, and choice of apparel. A point system, scoring each princess on a written essay, plus performance in the talent contest, the interview, and modeling both street and evening attire, was used by the judges.

Princess Melissa Chen was named Miss Congeniality, an award which is decided by votes from the princesses themselves, and Green was recognized as the contestant who sold the most tickets for the pageant and also won the talent award.

U.S. Coast Guardsmen, petty officers Alex Thompson and Jason Morrow, and seamen Ben Snider, Joshua Lloyd and Christian Rushing provided escorts for the evening.

Laughter and applause filled the building as each princess performed, and musical groups from both Azalea Middle School and the high school were led in song by their instructor, Jerry Moffit.

The talent portion of the program began with Princess Amberly's monologue from andquot;Cats,andquot; performed in cat costume with appropriate cat-like movements.

Princess Jessie Fairchild sang, andquot;Only Hope.andquot;

Princess Danielle Harper presented a tribute to the U.S. soldiers. Wearing a military uniform, and accompanied by slides of various people in service, she recited the poem, andquot;The Unknown Soldier.andquot;

Princess Melissa sang a haunting Chinese song, andquot;I Can't Forget You.andquot;

Green gave a rousing rendition of Doctor Seuss' andquot;Green Eggs and Ham.andquot;

Unfortunately, the sound system created some problems, making it difficult to hear in all parts of the gym. Princess Melissa proved herself to be a real professional by remaining calm and cool when the microphone failed to work, and she was forced to start her song over again.

As the impromptu question, each princess was asked who, if given a choice, in all the world she would choose to be. A bit of feminism was displayed when Harper responded, andquot;George Washington, because I would not only be the first president, but I would also be the first woman president,andquot; and Chen said she would choose to be the first empress of China.

From comments and applause, it was evident that the audience enjoyed the evening.

But the duties of 2004 Azalea Festival Court will not end until the month is over.

The queen and princesses are scheduled for one more parade, May 23 in Florence, followed by the Azalea Festival commitments, beginning with the parade down Chetco Avenue Saturday, May 29. Their other festival activities include presentation at the Azalea Park Program, appearance at the Pioneer Citizen Reception at the museum, plus judging art displays and participating in the Memorial Day Service at the Port of Brookings Harbor.