In celebration of its 100th year, the Woodland Planters Days celebration is expanding its offerings by launching its first ever Junior Royal Court.
Applications for the court, which will feature girls in first through fourth grade at the Woodland Public Schools, are due by Dec. 17.
Those selected to be on the junior court will be involved in activities like shopping for outfits and participating in community events. The girls will also be asked to attend two Planters Days committee meetings with their parents and guardians.
Although months away, Keith Bellisle, president of the Planters Days Board, said preparations for the annual celebration which is scheduled for June 16 to June 19 are well underway.
“The Planters celebration is celebrating what was originally the holding of the diking system in the Woodland area,” Bellisle said. “The diking system holds back the water of the Lewis River and Columbia River from the majority of Woodland so that it doesn’t flood.”
Bellisle said a Planters Days queen will be crowned prior to the event, which will also feature a parade, a carnival and a car show. The upcoming celebration will feature a beer fest, logging exhibit, and a reunion of all the past Planters Days princesses and queens.
In addition to that, there will be live entertainment.
“We’re also expanding fundraising activities for our local nonprofits, pairing them with sponsors and events where they’re able to make money,” Bellisle said.
Chaperone Lesa Beuscher said the duties of the queen and the princess will stretch for the majority of the year.
“In January, three ladies will be crowned (as princesses) in the Royal Court,” Beuscher said. “Prior to the Planters Days celebration in June, princesses will attend events such as parades. Then in June, the queen will be crowned, and the princesses won’t have any other duties, so the queen will take over and do Chamber of Commerce after-hours events, ribboncutting events, and things like the Christmas tree lighting in town. When the new court is brought in, the queen will then mentor the princesses.”
Bellisle said some of the nonprofits are Friends of the Library, the Rotary Club, and the Children’s Parade. The Lewis River Little League will be a beneficiary for a 100th year baseball game between Woodland and Kalama.
The parade includes floats, the fire department, military vehicles, and possibly farm equipment, according to Bellisle. Whoever wins Citizen of the Year will also be featured, as well as people who run the diking district.
For the past two years, Bellisle said they have had to run the event virtually. The crowned queen drew raffles while the prizes were given out on a different day. He is excited to return to an in-person event this coming June.
“We might have to navigate some things differently, but I don’t expect it to slow us down,” Bellisle said. “I know that our planning for fireworks this time will be a greater investment because they have to be imported. We’re looking for a sponsorship for fireworks. The Port (of Woodland) has already committed $5,000 for that.”
Bellisle said sponsorship forms are available online at planters-days.com. Letters will also be mailed out to local businesses that “outline opportunities for them to sponsor specific activities, donate prizes, or just donate to the event altogether.”
The site also has a link for vendors to sign up for the Rotary Saturday Market.
The funds will sponsor activities like the live entertainment and the beer fest, among other things. The beer fest has been a tradition of the celebration in the past, but hasn’t taken place for several years, Bellisle said.
For their sponsors, the Port of Woodland is one of the primary ones, and nearly every business in town contributes in some way, he said. Bellisle estimates that around 5,000 people will attend, “with it being the 100th year and a four-day event.”
Applications for the Junior Royal Court can be mailed to P.O. Box 1201, Woodland, WA, 98674 or submitted online at planters-days.com.