A Rip-Roaring Fair Weekend
- Whitney Tolar
- West Linn Tidings - Features
Friday's Coronation of Queen Sara Gowdy kicked off the 2011 West Linn Old Time Fair
All eyes were on the sky as hundreds of Old Time Fair attendees gathered on Friday night around a field dotted with paper plates, awaiting the arrival of two very special messengers.
Two skydivers in red and blue circled above, creating an atmosphere of excitement and suspense before the West Linn fair's official kickoff and beloved tradition: The coronation of the queen.
Upon the divers' landing, spectators were ushered over to Willamette Park's main stage where the much anticipated announcement would finally be made.
This year's princesses, escorted by their fathers, made their formal entrances by curtsying and smiling graciously at the crowd.
They were followed by the 2010 queen, Hanna Hilton, who would later speak about her experience as Old Time Fair royalty and pass her crown to this year's queen.
Before that final announcement could be made, however, the winner of the 'plate drop' was awarded her $500 prize and the fair received an unexpected gift. In other words, the skydiver landed on a plate with Shannon McBride's name on it.
An overwhelmed and teary-eyed McBride (mother of Princess Emma Waibel), generously donated $300 of her winnings to next year's princesses in order to help them with their fundraising efforts.
Local band SleepLong then performed an original song for the audience to enjoy as everyone eagerly anticipated the moment the queen would be crowned.
Finally, it was time. A graceful and eloquent Queen Hanna Hilton thanked her family, especially her grandmother, for all their support during her time as royalty before placing her crown on the head of her successor: Queen Sara Gowdy.
Following the announcement, Gowdy's family and friends - including her fellow princesses - excitedly rushed toward her, congratulating her on all her hard work.
'I'm just excited for her, because she really wanted this,' said Gowdy's father, Robb Gowdy.
He added, 'We live in such a great town,' and the fair is a wonderful celebration of its community.
The queen herself was ecstatic and overwhelmed. 'I'm shaking,' she said with a huge smile. 'I wasn't expecting this at all.'
Gowdy described the coronation and her time as royalty as a whole as, 'amazing,' and 'the best experience ever.'
With a queen in place, the weekend's festivities were in full swing.
Saturday's parade theme, 'Something to Roar About,' featured West Linn resident and community volunteer Mike Watters, who served as grand marshal. Attendees also enjoyed the amusement park rides, food, water ski entertainment, music and plenty of games.
Once again, the West Linn Old Time Fair was a good old time.