Shannon Brown: A life of publicity and pageantry
In the nine years Shannon Brown has lived in Sandy, she has worn many hats, but never a tiara.
This year, Brown will be recognized for her backstage contributions to the Sandy Mountain Festival with a slice of the limelight as a princess on the five-generation court.
"I'm looking forward to the parade," Brown says. "I've worked behind the scenes for so many years that I'll enjoy being in the parade. I look forward to being an ambassador as a member of the court. To be the face of the festival — that is a great honor."
Though originally from California, Brown considers herself an Oregonian, and the 46-year-old's relationship with the town of Sandy was love at first sight.
Naturally, she was quick to look for something to do to help her new community, though she never could have anticipated that she'd leave her first Sandy Mountain Festival board meeting as the chairwoman of the five-generation court.
"We had made the decision when we planned to move back to the (Oregon) west side that we wanted to raise our kids in a small-town environment, like I had grown up in," she explains. "Just driving through Sandy for the first time, I was like, 'This is it. We have to get a house here.' And, we haven't regretted it."
Brown is entering her eighth year with the festival in some capacity, and she doesn't plan to retire from her duties or leave Sandy anytime soon.
"(I plan to do this) as long as I can," she explains. "It's an exhausting endeavor, but I think one of my favorite parts is the parade."
In recent years, Brown has had revolving duties as court chairwoman, backstage coordinator and marketing and publicity coordinator. She and her husband, Steve, have built an invaluable friendship with festival Chairman Martin Montgomery and his wife, Shannon Montgomery, whose mother co-founded the event.
Steve, who is the publisher of the Post and Gresham Outlook, also serves as parade coordinator for the festival, so the Browns' children have been "heavily involved" with the event through the years.
"I think it's extremely important for the kids to volunteer, to be involved and experience as many opportunities as possible when they're young," she says. "I hope they carry community service into adulthood."
As a child growing up in Baker City, Brown modeled these behaviors as a longtime member of her local 4-H club, and then remained committed to community service as an adult in each place she's lived. She ran the River Run festivities in Pendleton and volunteered with Sandy's Oktoberfest for three years.
"(The festival) is huge for our community," Brown says. "This was really a good way to be involved with something so important to our community."
When she's not off meeting and greeting in her royal capacity, Brown works as a marketing consultant for the Gresham Outlook, and has worked in the newspaper industry for 10 years, making her a natural fit for the event.
"This isn't anything I ever expected to do," she says of her career. "(But), now I do it for the festival and as a job."