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Wellsville seeks possible princesses; apply at city office

February 14th, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life

By Jimena Herrero

WELLSVILLE- The tradition of choosing a princess to represent the city has been a part of this small town for many years. While the ceremonies surrounding the city princess have changed throughout the decades, the tradition remains an important part of the community.

“Founder’s Day originated in 1931,” Leesa Cooper, one of the coordinators, said. “The city princess tradition was probably originated around the same time.”

Cooper said in the past the whole town would attend a pageant and luncheon. Contestants would compete by answering questions and performing talents.

“The girls are a lot busier now. Between school, work and everything they’re involved with, it’s harder for them to commit to the time requirement,” she said. “We were having such a hard time getting girls to apply that we had to open up the age group.”

There are typically five to six princesses chosen every year. Their role is to represent the city at parades and events. The girls attend close to 12 events a year.

“It’s a big commitment. Instead of spending holidays with their family or friends, they have to be on floats or at events,” Cooper said. “It becomes a real time commitment and a challenge for the girls.” In return for their commitment, the city purchases dresses and tiaras for each girl to wear and keep, once they are no longer a city princess.

Sarah Gunnell, who is the mother of Wellsville’s 2011 city princess, believes that despite the time commitment it’s important for girls to be involved in their community. “I encouraged her to do it,” Gunnell said. “It gave her a sense of responsibility towards the community, and even though the time commitment was a challenge she really enjoyed it.”

For Gunnell, it was also nice to see that the girls picked were truly a representation of the community.

“I was impressed. It wasn’t about who was the most popular or thin,” Gunnell said. “Looks weren’t all that they were judged on. The princesses really represented all of the girls in the community.”

Girls who are interested in becoming the next city princess are encouraged to pick up an application at the Wellsville city office, 75 East Main St. For more information call Leesa Cooper, 435-245-3686.

“This is a great way to make friends, have fun and make memories,” Cooper said. “But I also hope that the girls develop community pride and a desire to be involved.”


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