I never thought I could be overwhelmed by royalty, but I certainly was in awe Wednesday night. The event was the Mayor’s Seafair Party, held in the Norman B. Rice Room at City Hall. Guests included naval personnel resplendent in dress whites. Also on the guest list were prominent Seafair Board Members, as well as Seafair staff and volunteers.
Reigning over the reception were the locals chosen as King Neptune and Queen Alcyone as well as the newly-crowned Miss Seafair. Assuming the role of King Neptune LXIII – the sixty-third king to head the city summer festival – is the former sports hero, Donald “Slick” Watts. Slick cuts a handsome figure as King, although he complains that he doesn’t much like the “jewel” encrusted crown. He says it’s too tight for his regal pate.
Taking on the role of Queen Alcyone is former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, who now heads the state’s law enforcement training agency. Queen Alcyone doesn’t have as many Roman numbers following her name: She’s Alcyone XIII (the 13th). The fact is that until the year 2000, Seafair didn’t appoint a celebrity queen.
Completing the royal entourage are the 2012 Miss Seafair, Veronica Asence of Bothell, as well as Miss Seafair’s court of princesses, chosen from other local communities.
These royal folks are chosen to preside over Seattle’s annual summer festival which includes dozens of events, ranging from the Seafair Hydro Races to the aerial acrobatics of the U. S. Navy Blue Angels. There are parades and festivals, regal appearances and receptions, almost too numerous to count.
But the event at City Hall this week was the one that left me speechless for once. It seems that Seafair has a long standing tradition of “knighting” community leaders as a means of recognizing their contributions to this region. So at the appropriate moment Wednesday, King Neptune broke a out serious ceremonial sword and Queen Alcyone supplied the requisite pillow for kneeling and the royal couple “set their hand and caused the Great Seal” of their dominion to be affixed to my knighting.
To say I was swept off my feet would be an understatement. There I was kneeling on the royal pillow, gently tapped on both shoulders by the royal sword. I have a handsome certificate that appoints me “Countess of Community Chivalry & Columnist Extraordinaire.” I will treasure it always. But, even though my head has been turned, I promise that I still answer to just plain “Jean.”