by Dot Cannon
The morning, at Tournament House, began with remembrance.
For months, the date–Monday, October 2, 2017–had been on the calendar. This was the day Pasadena Tournament of Roses® officials would announce the seven members of the 2018 Royal Court.
These young women would serve as Tournament of Roses® and Pasadena ambassadors for the next months, and ride a float in the 129th Rose Parade® on New Year’s Day. And, on October 18th, one of the seven would be chosen as Pasadena’s 100th Rose Queen® .
“So this morning we’re here for a celebration,” began Queen and Court Committee Chair Dave Link. “But, we’re all reading in the news about the tragedy in Las Vegas…and it seems odd to have a celebration in the wake of (that).
“But we have thirty-seven young ladies who have looked forward to this for a very long time, and have worked hard in the past months…it doesn’t seem right not to celebrate.
“So, let’s do two things. First of all, I’d like you to grab the hand of the person next to you. And I’d like you to bow your heads. And if you pray, this is the moment to pray. If not, a moment of silence for all those people who are suffering…as a result of the events in Vegas.”
“Okay,” Link continued, after a pause.
“So the next thing I want you to do, because…you’re all part of the Tournament…I want you to go home this afternoon (and) write a check to somebody, that will make a difference, in Las Vegas. I want you to call the Red Cross, and make an appointment, donate some blood. Do something this afternoon because you were here today, to make a difference.”
The audience of family members and supporters applauded.
“Here’s what we’re going to do,” he concluded. “I’m going to go back inside (Tournament House), and we’re going to run this celebration exactly the way we intended…no disrespect to anyone in Vegas. But I need your help…to cheer on your favorite finalist.”
The crowd complied, waving signs and cheering enthusiastically, until Link returned, several minutes later.
Honoring their hard work
After welcoming the visitors “on behalf of the 935 volunteer staff members and 34 staff members of the Tournament of Roses®”, Link offered the group a quick look back in history. The first Rose Parade® , he told the audience, had happened in 1890. The first Rose Queen®, Hallie Woods, had made her appearance fifteen years later, he said, in 1905.
“But it would be another 25 years before the Rose Queen® became a permanent fixture of the Rose Parade® and the Rose Bowl® Game,” he continued. “This year, the Tournament of Roses® will announce the 100th Queen.”
Three members of the 2017 Royal Court appeared, to assist with the official 2018 Royal Court announcement.
Then, Link began introducing the thirty-seven finalists, from whom the seven Royal Court members would be selected.
Each finalist appeared, on an escort’s arm, at the announcement of her name and number.
Audience members did their part, cheering and shrieking their support.
The finalists, Link had told the audience, had gone through four interviews, in the selection process.
Within the next few minutes, seven of them would find out they’d been selected to preside over the 129th Rose Parade® and the 104th Rose Bowl® game, on New Year’s Day, 2018.
Once the introductions were finished, the audience enthusiastically applauded the thirty-seven 2018 Royal Court finalists.
The moment arrives
Next, 2018 Tournament of Roses® President Lance Tibbet appeared.
“There’s been a lot (said) about ‘Making a Difference’,”he said, referencing the 2018 Rose Parade® theme. “I think we’re about to make a big difference in seven lives. Dave, may I have the first envelope, please?”
Joyful supporters’ screams almost drowned out his announcement. “From Flintridge High…Alexandra Marie Artura!”
Isabella Marie Marez, from La Salle High School, was next.
Within the next few minutes, Lauren Elizabeth Buehner, from Arcadia High School, would join them. So would Georgia Jane Cervenka from La Canada High School, then Pasadena High School’s Savannah Rose Bradley.
Arcadia High School senior Sydney Grace Pickering followed them.
“I want to thank all of these young ladies…” President Tibbet said, to laughter from the audience, who knew one final Rose Princess was due.
“I’ve learned something from watching reality TV,” he teased, before opening the final envelope.
“La Canada High School, Julianne Elise Lauenstein!”
Cheers, clapping and fanfares from the Tournament of Roses® Honor Band sounded.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you the 2018 Tournament of Roses® Royal Court!”
Reporters swarmed for pictures and quotes.
The Royal Court reacts
Virtually all of the new members of the Tournament of Roses® family expressed surprise at their selection.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Rose Princess Julianne Elise Lauenstein.
“I was so sure I wasn’t going to win, I made reservations for breakfast with my parents,” said Rose Princess Savannah Rose Bradley.
“I thought they had made a mistake (when I heard my name),” said Rose Princess Isabella Marie Marez.
Rose Princess Lauren Elizabeth Buehner shared a special Rose Parade® memory. As a small girl, she said, “I got an autograph from a Rose Princess. I took it to school for show and tell, kept it with me all day and said, ‘we are having show and tell’.”
Asked, in keeping with the 2018 Rose Parade® theme, who had made the biggest difference in their lives, the new Rose Princesses replied with a common theme: family members, with their love and support.
And, their advice for Royal Court members of the future?
Again, the young women agreed: stay true to who you are.
“It sounds cliched, but be yourself,” said Rose Princess Alexandra Marie Artura.
Pasadena Tournament of Roses® will crown their 100th Rose Queen® on Wednesday evening, October 18th at 7 pm at the Pasadena Playhouse. Here’s the link for information.