NHS senior will reign over the festival through Sunday, then join the court in representing Newberg until next year's celebration

It is a name familiar to some in the community, but not one associated with royalty before, that will go down in the annals of Old Fashioned Festival history: Bethany Geisch.

Geisch’s name is unusual in that it is not Grant; sisters Sara and Kelly ascended to the title of queen on two of the past three GARY ALLEN - Newly-crowned Old Fashioned Festival Queen Bethany Geisch receives congratulatory hugs from the other two members of the court, Evie Rice and Lindsey Doran, on the main stage at Memorial Park.

Geisch joined the elite group of queens at a coronation ceremony held Thursday evening on the main stage at Memorial Park. Before the stage were lined young girls, their eyes beaming at the three ornately-gowned teenagers, all current or graduated Newberg High School students, aspiring to be queen: Geisch, Evie Rice and Lindsey Doran.

As the sun settled in behind the trees and offered the small crowd respite from the heat of the day, festival chairman Russ Thomas opened the letter and announced Geisch’s election, catching her off guard.

“I had focused so much on what to do on stage when (either) Evie or Lindsey or were called, I forgot it could’ve been me,” she said.

“The announcement was a complete surprise,” Doran said. “I believe only our chaperones, Sarah Lowe and Marlene Grant, were aware of who it would be. But they certainly didn’t tell anyone.”

The announcement followed the reading of letters penned by the trio’s parents, which brought tears to the eyes of the court, even though their fathers were behind them, both literally and figuratively.

“We are grateful to have a front row seat to see God’s love work through you,” Doran’s parents wrote.

“I actually found it very comforting and extra special that my dad … got to escort me,” she said. “It was nerve racking in a sense, but only because we wanted to know who was queen so we could start celebrating. In the end, I am so proud of Bethany. She’s beautiful inside and out.”

Being queen won’t change the way Geisch approaches her responsibilities on the court.

“(I will) just continue doing what we have been doing, being positive representatives of the Newberg community and Newberg youth,” she said. “Becoming queen doesn’t change that.”

The court will reign over the remainder of the festival, including the Grand Festival Parade on Saturday morning as well as the other events of the weekend. The trio has been filling their responsibilities since being named to the court several months ago.

“(It’s been) so much fun and so busy,” Geisch said. “I have become really close with Lindsey and Evie. Any stresses we might have about speaking in front of a group or dancing in front of a crowd are gone when friends encourage you.”

“It is a complete honor to be representing this festival,” Doran said. “It may sound a little cliche, but honestly, it’s a dream come true. So many people come together to make the Old Fashioned Festival possible. We have appeared at many events prior to the Old Fashioned Festival, but will still be attending Tunes on Tuesday, the county fair and Safety Town Graduation.”

Unlike some of the girls that sat star-struck before the stage Thursday evening, Geisch said becoming queen of the festival was not something she had aspired to when she was younger.

“It was not something I had thought about. I just thought it would be a great experience and my family supported me in applying,” she said.

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