One of the benefits of serving as royalty, Rebekah Parker says, is developing more confidence thanks to events requiring public speaking.
Admittedly a bit of an introvert, the Sequim teen and the rest of the Clallam County Fair Royalty — including queen Saydee Peters of Forks and fellow princess Sammi Bates of Port Angeles — will have plenty of opportunity as they represent the North Olympic Peninsula at the 100th Clallam County Fair this week.
Parker, 16, says she and her family have lived in the area for about 11 years.
“We would go to (the fair) each year,” she says. “I enjoy getting to see the animals, the agriculture, arts and crafts — I love anything about art.”
Fair royalty will have a full scheduled during the fair, says Laurie Davies, Clallam County Fair board member and royalty coordinator.
Besides making the rounds throughout the fairgrounds all four days, royalty judge the antique tractors and equipment — and defend their picks to the fair superintendent — before judging multiple animal costume contests, make appearances at several grandstand events such as the draft horse, log show and rodeo, and finally handing out trophies at the fair culminating (though technically non-fair) event, the demolition derby.
“It’s busy (but) not overwhelming,” Davies says.
Royalty will also meet a number of Clallam County officials such as commissioners and the sheriff, a key aspect of their roles, Davies says.
“They meet the keep people who keep Clallam County going,” Davies says. “They are so very kind to our girls.”
Following their coronation in mid-February, fair royalty members have made appearances at a number of events, starting with the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Grand Parade. Parker said she felt fortunate that the first parade of the season was in Sequim.
“It gave us a feel for how everything would go,” she says.
Following that, Parker, Peters and Bates represented the Clallam Fair at Fourth of July festivities in Port Angeles and Forks, parades/festivals in Joyce, Port Orchard and Port Townsend and at the Jefferson County Fair.
Parker says her group has made special friendships with the Rhodedendron Festival royalty from Port Townsend.
As for the Clallam trio, Parker says they get along — a good thing, since they have plenty of long trips together.
“Sometimes it’s a long trip (but) they’re very sweet,” Parker says. “We have a lot of stuff in common.”
Clallam celebrates its 100th fair this year, though it’s a non-consecutive milestone: After the first event in 1895, the peninsula didn’t host another Clallam County Fair for another 19 years. Fairs were also suspended in 1918 (influenza) and 1942-1946 (World War II).
The first royalty, Davies notes, were introduced in 1932 — when the first queen was selected based on the number of fair tickets sold.