Old Fashioned Festival court, queen named
The Newberg Old Fashioned Festival has selected its court for 2019, naming Morgan Lemen and Alyssa Johnson as princesses and Jordan Morgan as its queen.
The process was different than in past years, when the court would be announced in the spring and the queen was not decided until the week of the festival, which runs July 25-28 this year.
"After speaking to past courts, and having to work through many complications, we brought to the committee the idea of selecting the queen in the beginning," court coordinator Krista Gardner said. "The process this year started with an application, which includes approval by the applicant's counselor of good standings in school, and then each applicant was contacted for an interview."
A rigorous application process resulted in Lemen, Johnson and Morgan's selections. A panel interviewed each applicant, who came prepared with a speech about themselves. Applicants had to answer questions from the panel as well and the panel entered its evaluations anonymously into a computer system, which added up the scores and determined the top three.
Gardner said the festival decided to select the queen early in order to allow the girls to focus on representing the community, rather than competing against one another. This way, she said, the process can be more fun for them.
All of the girls said they have been attending the festival for much of their lives and share fond memories of attending. To be on the court, they each said, is an honor.
Lemen is a junior at Newberg High School and is on the varsity volleyball team while also throwing javelin and shot put for the track squad. She is also vice president of the Newberg Future Farmers of America.
"For as long as I can remember, my family has been attending the festival each year," Lemen said. "I have so many great memories of the parade, fireworks show and all the festivities that go on all weekend. I look forward to the festival each year and it is by far my favorite weekend of the summer."
Johnson is a junior at NHS as well. She serves as a student representative for the Newberg school board and is on the board of directors for the Community Wellness Collective.
"The process of applying for the court was super fun and also super eye-opening for me," Johnson said. "I was able to see what sort of standards are expected of the princesses and was able to learn how to present myself in front of a crowd."
In addition to being named queen, Morgan has a full plate of extracurricular activities. She is heavily involved in 4-H in Yamhill County and is the vice president of her 4-H club, "Dusty Boots N Country Roots."
Also, Morgan is the treasurer of the Yamhill County Ambassador team, is a youth representative during Yamhill County Advisory meetings, helps tutor kids at Country Faith Christian Church – where she is a junior – and is passionate about animals and photography.
She views her role as queen as one of a role model for little girls and boys, representing the festival in a "professional and responsible" manner.
"This has been an adventure that I would never would have guessed would be so amazing," Morgan said. "I loved the interviewing process, as well as getting to do all the events with the girls, and the coordinators. I love interacting with the public and this has been amazing. I look forward to the rest of the summer."
A coronation for the queen and princesses is scheduled for July 25 during the festival. Further information on that and the festival is available at www.newbergoldfashionedfestival.org.