Rhody Festival queen candidates make debut

PORT TOWNSEND — In the fall of 2000, they started high school together. This spring, they will compete against each other for a crown.

“We all know each other,” Tracy Hayes said. “We’ve had classes together.”

Hayes and four other young women — Channelle Jones, Shannon McIntire, Brooke Saul and Shannon Somes — were officially presented Sunday as candidates for the 2004 Rhododendron Festival court.

Because of a decision by the festival board to open the contest only to young women who live in town, all are seniors at Port Townsend High School.

“In 1988 or ’89 we went out to all the schools because Chimacum no longer had royalty for their festival,” Melanie Bozak, a long-time Rhody volunteer, said.

“Now Hadlock Days has royalty. We haven’t been able to get volunteers or money from the county, so why continue to reach out?”

Last year’s contest attracted only one candidate, Amanda Groody of Quilcene. But this year found eager seekers for the honor of reigning over the festival that will be held May 8-15.

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The rest of the story appears in the Monday Peninsula Daily News.

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