PORT TOWNSEND — One of two candidates will be named the 2023 Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival queen at a coronation at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The ceremony will be at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 4907 Landes St., Port Townsend, according to Kathy Embody, spokesperson for the festival. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.
Melody Douglas and Paige Govia, both 17, were named as candidates by festival officials in January.
Douglas — a Port Townsend resident and a home-schooled senior — and Govia — a junior at Chimacum High School who lives in Port Hadlock — were scheduled then for several speaking engagements and were required to sell $800 worth of Rhododendron Festival pins before coronation, according to Melanie Bozak, royalty training coordinator, in January.
The candidate crowned queen will receive a scholarship of $2,000 this year, Bozak said, and the princess will get $1,500.
That money can be put toward whatever kind of education the student chooses and is available up to a year after the award is given.
This year, Rhody Week will be from May 16 through May 21.
The festival will feature a Grand Parade on May 20, with the royal court aboard. This year’s theme is “Wild, Wild Rhody” Bozak said. Both the royal court and the float will be featured in more than a dozen festivals across the state during the spring and summer.
The float will be revealed at noon March 25 at the Port Townsend Golf Club, Embody said.
That day, a nine-hole two-person scramble golf tournament will begin at 9 a.m. with proceeds going to the Rhododendron Festival Scholarship Association. The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Hamburgers will be sold. For more information, call Rita Beebe at 360-531-3042.
The Rhody Fest has been running since 1935, generally the third week of May. It celebrates the wild rhododendrons that grow throughout Jefferson County. The Pacific Rhododendron — Rhododendron macrophyllum — was chosen as Washington’s state flower in 1959.
This year’s Rhododendron Festival is once again looking for volunteers to help with many committees: grand parade, weekly events including bike and bed races, float and travel and miscellaneous tasks.
The volunteer chairperson is Tamara Geraci, who can be contacted at email@example.com.
For more information, see rhody festival.org.