David Douglas High actress cast as ‘first Rose Fest Queen’

See why, even though she wasn’t selected as DDHS Rose Festival Princess, this poised young lady had a regal role to play in this year’s Portland Rose Festival nonetheless …

-1As one of four finalists for Princess, and as a member of the 2014 DDHS Portland Rose Festival Court, Shelby Hansmann speaks before the school’s 3,000 students. Although she wasn’t selected as the school’s Princess  – she ended up playing a unique role as a Rose Festival Queen.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Honoring the 100th Anniversary of the Portland Rose Festival’s first elected Queen, Thelma Hollingsworth, Rosarians invited young ladies to try out for the role of portraying Queen Thelma, riding in this year’s Grand Floral Parade.

In 1914, Hollingsworth was a 17-year-old clerk in a railroad office, when her boss asked her to become a candidate for Rose Festival Queen. Little did she know that after an exciting campaign for election, she would receive more than two million votes and be elected the first Queen of the celebration.

This year’s search for a young lady to portray Queen Thelma on the centenary of her coronation was primarily promoted in social media, according to Portland Rose Festival Foundation Public Relations Manager Rich Jarvis. Via video audition, 15 girls applied for the role. Then, a panel of directors, volunteers, and staff selected the three finalists.

“Recalling the election process of 1914, the Rose Festival held a public vote, and invited people to cast a penny-per-vote for their choice,” said Jarvis.

In her first public appearance as the “first Queen of Rosaria”, Shelby Hansmann is introduced during the 2014 Portland Rose Festival Queen’s Coronation.

Votes started being cast after the Vaudeville Rose Variety Show on Saturday, May 10, in which each finalist portrayed Thelma in a skit inspired by scenes from her life as the first Rose Festival Queen. And, visitors to the Rose Festival CityFair Museum & Store cast additional votes, by depositing one or more pennies in containers marked for each of the three finalists.

On June 1, the “votes” were counted. “163,453 penny votes were cast, raising $1,634 for the Knight Cancer Challenge, the Rose Festival’s Official Charity,” Jarvis said.

During the 2014 Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade on the evening of June 1, the Foundation revealed that David Douglas High School (DDHS) student Shelby Hansmann had been elected.

Shelby Hansmann, as “Gertrude McFuzz” in the DDHS production of SEUSSICAL! The Musical.

In addition to her involvement in DDHS gymnastics and choir, it appears that it was her dramatic skill, as honed on stage at her high school, which helped her win the competition.

For example, in the November, 2013, production of SEUSSICAL! The Musical”, Hansmann played a major role – “Gertrude McFuzz”.

Before mounting the float for her ride in this year’s Grand Floral Parade, Shelby Hansmann – and Candee Jones, who also portrayed Thelma Hollingsworth in the Festival’s Living History Program – pose for a photo.

Before the Portland Rose Festival Queen Coronation on June 7, Hansmann spoke with East Portland News about her special new acting role.

“When I found out about this part, playing Queen Thelma, I decided to audition for the role. A committee then chose three finalists. It’s true; people donated 61,630 pennies on my behalf to the Knight Cancer Challenge,” Hansmann smiled.

Aboard the float, Shelby Hansmann portrays Queen Thelma, and greets the curbside crowds in the 2014 Grand Floral Parade.

About her new role, Hansmann commented, “I think this is something cool, and something that is really special for the Portland Rose Festival. I’m proud to have been selected to represent Queen Thelma as we celebrate 100 years of this tradition.”

Along with adding to her acting credits, Hansmann was also awarded a $1,000 scholarship. “The Scholarship was made possible by a grant from the Poznanski Family Foundation,” Jarvis informed.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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