Looking good in yellow isn’t the only requirement for a Daffodil Princess. Starting this year, the 24 young women selected for the Royal Court are now considered official Ambassadors of Pierce County.
It’s a first for the 79 year-old festival and organizers hope the new title will bring some refreshing relevancy and meaning to the title of ‘Princess.’
“We’re trying to take the 6 week traditional princess experience and stretch it over 6 months, focusing on community service and outreach,” said Steve James, communications manager for the festival. “We want it to be an enjoyable experience for the girls, but also meaningful and life-changing.”
James said interest in the Daffodilian Court had begun to wane in the past few years, with fewer applicants and little participation from the greater community.
Last year, the organization focused its efforts on new partnerships with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pierce County and started the “Read with a Princess” story-time programs through the local library systems. The princesses also visited children at Good Samaritan Hospital, attended business ribbon cuttings and spent more time out in the community.
“We spent a whole year pretending to be ambassadors and the Pierce County Council was impressed with our growth,” James said.
The County Council made the ambassador program official at their meeting on Jan. 31 and unanimously voted the proclamation into law.
James said the added title will help the girls as they go on to college and their careers after high school. He added that the program hopes to match future princesses with volunteer opportunities that interest them and build up alumni networks.
The organization is already reaping the benefits of last year’s program overhaul, said James, with an increased number of applicants for the 2012 court and the addition of the 24th princess – Megan McBarron is the first princess in Daffodilian History to represent White River High School.
“It’s great to see the growth of the young women throughout the program, but we really believe there is untapped potential to grow more,” said James. “We are a lot more than the parade.”
The 2012 Royal Court will be at Daffodil Days at the South Hill Mall on Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Feb. 26 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. They will be handing out ‘Daffodil Wristbands’ that will get you special discounts on merchandise throughout the mall. The girls will be positioned at four different stations around the mall and will be available for photo opportunities.
Tickets are on sale now for the Annual Princess Tea at Laurel Creek Manor in Sumner on Saturday, March 10. Tickets are $20 per person and there will be two events – from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Princess Tea is a time for little girls in the community to mingle with the Royal Court – they will go home with their own tiara and princess memory cards.