Rhody queen crowned

Carmen Jaramillo
Posted 2/12/20

The queen has spoken: Rhody festival season has officially begun.

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Rhody queen crowned


The queen has spoken: Rhody festival season has officially begun.

Newly-crowned 2020 Rhody Queen Jenessah Seebergoss declared the 85th Rhododendron Festival season beginning at the coronation ceremony Saturday, Feb. 8 at Chimacum High School.

Seebergoss was crowned queen and Chimacum highschool junior Brigitte Palmer and senior Hailey Hirschel were crowned princesses. After judging was complete, all the junior and senior royalty were crowned and the outgoing royalty reflected on the past year.

Seebergoss, Palmer and Hirschel said after the ceremony that they cannot wait to begin making memories together. Seebergoss said the trio had found lifelong friends in each other and they were incredibly excited for what is going to happen in the months to come.

The incoming girls were judged based on a short speech describing what the 85th Rhody Festival means to them, a creative performance of their choosing, conversations from a panel interview with the judges conducted earlier in the week and from their general performance during the selection process.

Judges included East Jefferson Fire Rescue firefighter and EMT and past Rhody junior royalty Alex Morris, past Rhody queen Briel Gifford, Port Townsend city attorney Heidi Greenwood and Yolane Doan of Glamour Girl Salon in Port Townsend.

Seebergoss is the daughter of Blaine and Sonya Goss. At Port Townsend High School, she participates in volleyball, band and cheerleading. After high school she wants to study abroad before becoming an animator.

In her speech, Seebergoss said she has dreamed about being crowned the Rhody queen ever since she served on the queen’s court four years ago. She said she is looking forward to meeting lots of new people and sharing the Rhody Festival tradition with other communities around Washington. She said she hopes she can show people as queen that they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to.

For her creative display, Seebergoss performed “Second Waltz” by Dmitri Shostahovich on the flute, with a piano accompaniment.

Hirschel is the daughter of Belynda Hirschel and after high school, she wants to become a cosmetologist, a mechanic or maybe a chef.

Hirschel said she sees being Rhody royalty as an opportunity to be a role model for young girls and push herself out of her comfort zone. She said she wants to show people that princesses are tough and that she has been inspired by the support she has felt from her community.

For her creative display, Hirschel sang “XXX’s and OOO’s” by Trisha Yearwood.

Palmer is the daughter of Aubrey and Savannah Palmer. Her hobbies include cheerleading, four-wheeling, horses and fly-fishing. After high school Palmer wants to complete a master esthetician license.

Palmer said she loves being a part of the tradition of Rhody and the community it serves. She said she is a fourth-generation Jefferson County resident, and her deep connection to the area makes Rhody even more important to her. She said she can’t wait to help continue the history of the festival.

For her creative display, Palmer performed a self choreographed cheer to “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.”

The 85th Rhododendron Festival will take place May 11 to 16 ending with the grand parade May 16 at 1 p.m.


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