Confessions of a Forks 4th of July Queen

IN 1973, THE Forks Chamber of Commerce dropped its support of the Forks Fourth of July celebration.

With no committee or chairperson, it looked like the Forks Old-Fashioned Fourth of July had about as much chance of happening as lighting a firecracker in a West End rainstorm.

That’s when a young Forks High School band teacher, Stan Sells, stepped forward and volunteered to take it on.

Past years had Fourth of July queens selected by hat and/or button sales. Sells and other volunteers organized a pageant to determine the year’s queen.

Out-of-town judges came for the evening event and made their selection, and at the end of the night, I was chosen to represent the Forks Old-Fashioned Fourth of July.

Sells had big plans: There was a new float. and it was going to participate in every festival parade on the Peninsula.

But the first stop was Seafair in Seattle.

Sells might have saved the Fourth of July, but he also ended up being my Queen Mother, which he was not so good at.

He just about lost me in the Emerald City.

Sells got me to the Olympic Hotel and then headed to Ellensburg to take some classes.

I spent the next few days sightseeing with other royalty from around the state.

The evening of the Seafair Torchlight Parade rolled around, and there was much excitement in the hotel.

After I heard doors slamming and the swish of taffeta gowns hurrying down the hall, I soon realized everyone was gone.

I was the last queen on the floor.

I called down to the desk to see if anyone had called for me. No, they said.

I got ready anyway and headed down to the lobby.

Once again, I asked at the desk, but nobody had come for me.

So, I decided I would just go find the parade.

Even though I had never been on my own in downtown Seattle …How hard could that be? It’s a big parade …

Once on the street, I straightened my crown, adjusted my sash, looked left, and looked right … I went to the right.

I walked for a long time and passed lots of people on the street.

Not one of them asked, “Hey, stupid girl in the crown: What are doing?”

About the time I decided I was not going to find the parade, I turned around to go back to the hotel.

I realized that I had no idea where it was.

Just then three individuals stumbled out of a nearby bar …

They were a scarecrow, a tin woodsman, and a lion – well, actually, they were all loggers.

I had run into some of my own!

One of them said, “Hey look; a princess.”

I corrected him and said that actually, I was a queen.

Another one read my sash and replied: “Forks! We worked out there a few years ago.”

The third one asked, “What are you doing?”

“I am trying to find the parade,” I said.

“We’ll help you,” he said.

One ran into the bar to ask if anyone knew where the Torchlight Parade was.

Another ran right out into traffic, flagged down a Seattle police officer, ran back over to me, and said he told the officer about my predicament.

The policeman agreed to take me to the parade!

The officer drove me right to my float; it was time for the parade to start.

My Queen Mother, Mr. Sells, had not realized that he was supposed to come to get me at the hotel.

To this day, I wish I knew who those three loggers were.

Had I not run into them, would I have made it back to the hotel? or …? Who knows …

Would I have made it to the parade? Probably not, would I have ever seen home again!!

For quite a few years, the Forks Fourth of July float has had no royalty.

Instead, organizers honor a “hometown hero” instead. No Queen Mother is required.

Everybody knows there is no place like home, and there is no place like Forks for the Fourth of July.

Christi Baron, Editor