WENATCHEE — Laughing with excitement, Eastmont High School senior Tess Sparks adjusted her new bright-red robe. “Is my crown on straight?” she asked.
Sparks, the daughter of Courtney McCoy-Woods and David Woods and David Sparks, was named the 2020 Apple Blossom queen at the festival’s annual Royalty Selection Pageant on Saturday.
“It’s unbelievable. I was so nervous and then hearing my name, it was just crazy,” she said in an interview after the pageant.
Sparks is the first Eastmont queen in seven years; the most recent was Emily Abbott in 2013.
She’ll preside over the 101st annual festival with princesses Kelly Norland, daughter of Kate and Erik Norland, and Kaia St. John, daughter of Rebecca Tucker and Jed Gossman, and Jake St. John and KC St. John. Both are Wenatchee High School students.
In addition to picking the royal court, the pageant conferred five superlative awards. The Achievement Award went to Abby Wilt, the Community Involvement Award went to Norland, the Congeniality Award went to Haley Gilman, and the Most Photogenic Award was presented to Jessie Weber.
The pageant’s Most Original Speech Award — determined by both the judges and crowd voting — was presented to Chelsea Wickel.
The pageant’s top 10 finalists participated in individual and panel interviews with five out-of-town judges Saturday morning. That accounted for 50% of the overall judging process.
Activities at the pageant, including a prepared speech and impromptu questions, made up the other 50% of the judging.
The annual Lehman Johnson Award, given for longtime dedication to the festival and community, was given during the pageant to volunteers Pat and Adele Haley.
In a surprise announcement, Music Theatre of Wenatchee was named grand marshall of the 2020 festival. The theater has been performing festival shows for 60 years, including “Mamma Mia!” this spring.
The new royal court takes over for 2019 Queen Savannah Slife and princesses Olivia Lancaster and Elizabeth Popoff.
The royalty trio will spend the spring making more than 150 appearances at community events and will criss-cross the state at out-of-town parades over the summer.
The 101st Apple Blossom Festival — themed “Bloomin’ Fun in 101” — runs from April 23 to May 3.