At last! A 2020 Portland Rose Festival Queen is crowned

Although the Portland Rose Festival ‘Queen of Rosiaria’ wasn’t from outer East Portland, find out who was selected, and how. And, see all of our own Princesses at the ceremony, and hear their comments on this unusual season …

The 2020 Portland Rose Festival Court Princesses gather for a photo before the Queen’s Coronation ceremony in the Washington Park International Rose Test Gardens.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

This year, all Portland Rose Festival events were cancelled or changed due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns – including the Queen’s Coronation, originally scheduled for the morning of June 6, just before the Grand Floral Parade, which didn’t happen either.

However, at last, on July 30, in the Washington Park International Rose Test Gardens, a new Portland Rose Festival “Queen of Rosaria” for this year was crowned.

“This afternoon, after a nearly two month delay, Mya Brazile, one of the Rose Festival’s longest reigning Queens, will hand her crown to the newly selected 2020 Queen, in a special Coronation Ceremony,” said Portland Rose Festival Association spokesperson Rich Jarvis, just before the event started.

“Due to the pandemic restrictions and the limitations on activities or gatherings, we couldn’t get the judges together in one place and at one time to evaluate our candidates,” Jarvis told East Portland News. “So, this year’s queen was selected by those who know the candidates best – the members of the 2020 Court Princesses themselves.

“The last time the Court voted to elect its own Queen was in 1930, the first year that the Festival started featuring high school students on the Court,” Jarvis said. “Of course, this year’s Queen will not get to ride in a 2020 parade – but she’ll definitely make it into next year’s parade!”

Members of the 2020 Portland Rose Festival Court walk down the stairs, and into an area called the Royal Rosarian Garden.

Under the unrelenting heat of the noon sun, the members of this year’s Portland Rose Festival Court were individually introduced as they entered the Royal Rosarian Garden section – specifically, the area featuring the “Walk of Queens” – and then they were seated along an aisle among the bushes.

All of the Princesses wore summery, off-the-shoulder, floral print dresses; and, in keeping with the times, matching face coverings as well. Organizers thoughtfully provided white parasols to shade the princesses as the program got underway.

Father Paul of All Saints Parish presents “The Blessing of the Festival”.

Welcoming everyone present to the ceremony is the Royal Rosarian Prime Minister Kimberly Bown.

After the invocation, 2019-2020 Royal Rosarian Minister of Rosaria Kimberly Bown addressed the group, saying in part, “After working for a long time on it this year, we’re coming together to deliver a unique and special celebration for the Rose Festival in our city today.”

“It’s been a most unusual year,” agrees 2019 Rose Festival Queen Mya Brazile.

After being escorted to her throne, 2019 Rose Festival Queen Mya Brazile told of the many activities that had highlighted her extended reign.

“You ladies you look lovely with your parasols,” Queen Mya said with a warm smile. “I am grateful to my Rose Festival family for providing such a great year. This we’ve had many hurdles, but we hopped over every one successfully.”

Congratulations to 2020 Queen of Rosaria Anya Annon, of Lincoln High School.

Those scattered around the garden, under the hot sun, looked pleased that the program was abridged – as Lincoln High School Princess Anya Annon was announced the 2020 Queen of Rosaria.

Our Princesses speak

Even though it’s been a most unusual Portland Rose Festival season, all three of our outer East Portland princesses told East Portland News that their experience was positive and uplifting.

Being introduced is David Douglas High School Princess Michelle Le.

David Douglas High School Princess Michelle Le commented, “The most memorable part about being involved with the Portland Rose Festival was being surrounded by young women with the same goals as mine – and being able to make lifelong friendships with the girls that I now call my Rose Festival sisters.”

About the ceremony, Princess Michelle said, “I absolutely loved the way the Queen’s Coronation was this year, because it was so different from other years – it was outdoors. Our dresses went perfectly with the roses in the garden and were gorgeous; it was the perfect way to crown a new Queen.”

Entering the ceremony with her bouquet of roses is Parkrose High Princess Brenda Ortegon Briceño.

About the noontime ceremony, Parkrose High School Princess Brenda Ortegon Briceño noted, “It was so hot, but it truly was a truly amazing experience.”

What Princess Brenda will take away from her Portland Rose Festival involvement, she said, is, “How hard everyone has been working to give us some experiences that Rose Festival Courts would normally have – it’s made everything that much more special.”

Madison High School Princess Wren Louis waves, as she’s introduced at this year’s outdoor Portland Rose Festival Queens Coronation ceremony.

“For me, the most memorable part of being involved in the Portland Rose Festival has been getting to meet and connect with all the other Princesses,” said Madison High School Princess Wren Louis. “Don’t get me wrong; I loved traveling to amazing places like the Oregon Zoo and Pittock Mansion; but making lifelong connections with these wonderful young woman has been the most memorable part.”

About the outdoor ceremony, Princess Wren had a three word reply: “I loved it!”

She added, “I believe that is was a beautiful place for the Queen’s Coronation ceremony, and perfectly put together by the Rose Festival staff. Having the ceremony here gave Queen Anya some unbelievably great pictures, and memories, that she will have forever.”

Again, congratulations to outer East Portland’s
2020 Princesses, Michelle, Brenda, Wren!

To keep in touch with the Portland Rose Festival, visit their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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