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Festival has its trio of ambassadors

Three NHS students picked to represent Newberg


The three-member Old Fashioned Festival court has been chosen and has already begun its duties as official representatives of Newberg’s annual rite of summer.

This year’s court is made up of Emily Sandberg, Felicia Rogers and Mariah Lemen, all Newberg High School students.

The trio were chosen in March from a pool of six applicants, according to Krista Gardner, head court chaperone and a member of the 2003 festival court. She guides the court with the assistance of co-chaperone Missy Love, who is also parade chairwoman for the festival.GARY ALLEN - Princesses (from left) Emily Sandberg, Mariah Leman and Felicia Rogers were chosen in March as the Old Fashioned Festival court. The queen will be crowned during the opening ceremonies for the festival in July.

Gardner explained the process by which the court was chosen. After the applications are turned in and reviewed each applicant undergoes an interview with a panel of five community members, including Mayor Bob Andrews. “After the panel decides the court,” Gardner said, “the princesses are crowned and the fun begins.”

The princesses’ duties are many: each girl represents Newberg and the festival, they attend other parades and festivals to promote the Old Fashioned Festival, and they are also visible at local events such as First Friday, Tunes on Tuesday and others.

The girls helped out at the Camellia Festival April 9 and will enjoy a small break until May when they will attend the Newberg Fire Department pancake breakfast and Art Walk on May 6.

The trio had different reasons for wanting to be on the court.

“I have lived my entire life in Newberg,” Sandberg said. “I love my community and all that it has to offer. Being part of the NOFF court will allow me to give back to a community that has given me so much.”

“I’ve been going to the (festival) since I moved to Newberg when I was 5 and I always remember seeing the beautiful princesses and knowing that someday that is something I wanted to do,” Rogers said. “I wanted to be more a part of the community and be a good example to kids and make them see what I saw when I was their age and give them something to look forward to.”

“I wanted to be on the NOFF court not only to be a positive role model for the younger generation, but to represent Newberg in a positive way,” Lemen said. “I have a strong connection to the community and it is an honor to be able to represent my hometown.”

All three have had some connection with the court in the past via friends or relatives. Rogers’ good friend Rayann Reid was on the court last year, while Sandberg said friends and acquaintances recommended she try for a spot.

“The skills that they learned are irreplaceable,” she said. “When I asked if I should apply they all encouraged me to go for it and that it would be an incredible experience.”

The three agreed that the primary responsibility of a princess is to be a positive reflection of the community.

“We are the face of the Old Fashioned Festival as well as the city of Newberg,” Sandberg said.

“I believe the responsibility of a NOFF princess is to be a positive representation of the Newberg community and to be a positive role model,” Lemen said. “I looked up to the princesses when I was little and it is an honor to be able to be that role model for the younger generations.”

All three princesses plan on furthering their educations after graduating from high school. Sandberg expects to attend Eastern Oregon University to seek a degree in agricultural science with a minor in business, with the ultimate goal of working in agricultural marketing or public relations. Rogers said she hopes to study coaching and sports science with the ultimate goal of coaching kids. Lemen expects to attend college, but hasn’t settled on a major yet.

The trio had different predictions for what would constitute the high point of their time on the court.

“The thing I am most looking forward this year is to help out and be a part of all of the different events,” Sandberg said.

“The high point of my service on the court will be having the opportunity to be a part of all these different events and getting the privilege to meet all the people who make these events happen,” Rogers said.

“The high point for me while being on the NOFF court will be during Old Fashioned (Festival) itself,” Lemen said. “There are so many special festival traditions that I will have the privilege of experiencing from a new perspective and I am very excited to help celebrate the town I grew up in.”