With the Clallam County Fair Royalty Coronation pushed up five months from the opening night of the fair, four Sequim girls take to the limelight this Saturday for a chance to be crowned queen.
Naomi Gish, 16; Grace Koenigsaecker, 17; Torrie McIntyre, 17; and Lily Paulsen, 17, all raised in Sequim, compete March 16 at the fair’s royalty coronation and tea.
They continue the tradition started in 1932 where they’ll dress up, give a speech about a moment that changed their lives and answer questions from judges. Whoever becomes queen receives $500, with $400 for each princess. Their commitment includes multiple local and Seattle-area parades leading up to the county fair Aug. 15-18.
At the fair they will judge contests, make appearances and take plenty of photos with fair-goers all day from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The night formerly scheduled for the coronation will become a meet-and-greet on the Wilder Stage as the junior royalty are announced.
Since she was little, Gish said she’s always wanted to be in a parade again since commemorating the 100th year of 4-H in 2002.
“This seems like fun,” she said on being with the royalty court.
She’s attended the fair throughout her life and fondly remembers winning the poultry dress-up contest where she dressed up a chicken as a king with a red coat and a crown with a red jewel.
Gish looks forward to judging the contest this year with her fellow royalty.
Through her years at the fair, Gish finds an affection for it that some communities are losing.
“Small counties are losing their fairs,” she said. “(The fair) is a big part of our community. It brings us together.”
Clallam County also holds a warm spot in her heart. Gish said she loves living here for its sunshine.
“I lived in Arlington and it rained every day,” she said.
Along with the fair and sunshine, Gish finds acting to be one of her biggest interests. She’s auditioning for Port Gamble Theater’s June production of “Pride and Prejudice.”
Sponsor: RE/MAX Fifth Avenue. Parents: Scott and Claire Koenigsaecker. Education: Running Start/Peninsula College/Sequim High School. Hobbies: Photography, Future Business Leaders of America, cheerleader, volunteer at Sequim Community Church’s middle school program and public speaking. Goal: Go to college working toward a dream job in photography.
Inspired by the beauty of Sequim, Koenigsaecker said she loves living here.
“I love the environment and everything in the community,” she said.
“I love how supportive the community is and that we have the ocean, mountains and forest all in once place.”
She joined the royalty court because she always looked up to the fair royalty and thought it’d be a great opportunity to represent Sequim and the county.
A self-described outgoing, happy person, Koenigsaecker said overall she finds the fair to be a great experience. She entered photography in the junior division and won first and second places in portraits and she experienced many new things.
“(The fair) is awesome,” she said. “There’s always something going on. It brings you back to your roots.”
At this year’s fair she’s most looking forward to walking the fairgrounds as royalty wearing a cowboy hat with a tiara on it.
Sponsor: Gauthun Chiropractic. Parents: John and Deana McIntyre. Education: Sequim High School. Hobbies: 4-H with the Rascals club raising market steers, soccer, basketball, filmmaking, Boy Scouts of America’s Venture Crew and FFA. Goals: Attend Peninsula College for an associate’s degree and transfer to Pierce College for her veterinary technician’s license.
McIntyre said joining the royalty is unlike anything she’s done before.
As a 4-H participant at the fair most of her life, she looks forward to representing Clallam County.
She loves several facets of the area such as the sense of nature surrounding her, which she experiences through hikes and adventures with Venture Crew 1491. Through Sequim schools, she’s happy to have been given opportunities to make movies for the Sequim Education Film Festival and play sports such as bowling and soccer, which she hopes to play in college.
Her favorite experience at the fair was winning the round robin championship in 2010 answering questions about several kinds of animals.
“Until then I had just won participation ribbons and I got 100 percent on everything,” she said. “That was the cherry on top of everything.”
She’s looking forward to riding out in a carriage with the other royalty during the rodeo.
“The fair is fun. Just the atmosphere is great, ” she said. “There’s lots to see and do and you can learn a lot.”
Sponsor: Olympic Sewer and Drain Cleaning. Parents: Steve and Christine Paulsen. Education: Sequim High School. Hobbies: Choir, drama, 4-H with Pure Country club. Goal: Attend University of Idaho to major in theater and minor in criminal justice.
When choosing her favorite days of the year, the fair is by far Paulsen’s favorite.
A foodie at heart, Paulsen said she loves food, especially funnel cakes and cheeseburgers.
Becoming a part of the royalty, she said, gives her an opportunity to see and be a part of the rodeo, too.
“Plus I get to wear a crown on top of a cowboy hat,” she said.
For Paulsen, the fair brings new experiences every year, too.
“I just love all the sights and going around and seeing everything,” she said. “I love not feeling rushed.”
Along with the rodeo and food, she’s looking forward to the different schedules on the Sunny Farms stages such as the Port Angeles Light Opera Association’s annual performance.
She particularly loves the small-town feel the fair provides. Two years ago she met Abby Mae Latson, former singer of Abby Mae and the Homeschool Boys, who performed at the fair. Paulsen saw them perform and she met Latson in the rabbit barn where they talked for a bit.
Paulsen is an aspiring performer with a love for actresses Katharine Hepburn, Emma Watson and Stana Katic from “Castle,” who she said inspired her to pursue acting and criminal justice.