Rose Festival Court visits Spirit Mountain Casino

05.31.2012 Ron Karten Spirit Mountain Casino

Fifteen Portland Rose Festival princesses and their entourage visited Spirit Mountain Casino on Tuesday, May 22, to enjoy a brunch-style lunch and thank the casino and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for sponsoring the upcoming Grand Floral Parade.

Spirit Mountain Casino is in its second year as official sponsor of the iconic Grand Floral Parade, this year set for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 9, in downtown Portland.

This year's Rose Festival Court includes Carter Wallace, Wilson High School; Sade' Beasley, Benson High; Amirose Mallet, St. Mary's High; Meleah Cooper, David Douglas High; Janae Brown, Jefferson High; Katherine Sinnott, Central Catholic High; Nyausha West, Grant High; Cassidy Zusmas, Lincoln High; Keely van Baggen, Madison High; Asia Greene, Roosevelt High; Charlotte Taylor, Cleveland High; Lydia Terjerson, METRO West; Mehek Sethi, METRO East; Alexis Phillips, Franklin High; and Bre'Shay Barnes, Parkrose High.

Attired in Adidas pink rain jackets, the princesses were seated at tables inside the casino's Kalapuya conference room as Tribal Council members and casino staff arrived for the lunchtime event and meal.

Spirit Mountain Marketing Manager Greg Fritz, who also sits on the Rose Festival Board of Directors, introduced Rodney Ferguson, Spirit Mountain chief executive officer, to the Rose Festival Court.

"It is such a thrill each and every time to see your lovely faces," Ferguson said. "We are sure that your parents and everyone else are so proud of you and your years in high school. You have made it to this point in your life where your next step will be even more exciting. We are so happy to have you here."

Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr. gave the invocation, but beforehand he also welcomed the princesses to the Tribe's homelands.

"As Native Americans and as in most cultures, our young people are our treasures," Bobb said. "They are the vessels to the future. From the day that you enter our lives, you are wrapped in a cocoon of hopes and dreams by a generation that knows you will accomplish things.

"On behalf of the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, all of our members and our wonderful staff, we wish you the best."

After Bobb's invocation, the princesses were treated to a meal that included prime rib, eggs Benedict, baby shrimp, fruit, pastries and hash browns.

Princess Carter Wallace said the Rose Festival Court had previously visited Pendleton, Astoria, Cannon Beach, Tillamook, McMinnville and Salem before making a stop in Grand Ronde.

In Tillamook, the court visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory; in McMinnville, they toured Evergreen Aviation Museum; and in Salem, they met with Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Princess Maleah Cooper said her favorite things about serving in the Rose Festival Court were, in order, the trip to Pendleton where they rode horses and met the Pendleton Roundup Court, the clothes that have been donated to them and the parades they have participated in.

Cooper said she had visited the casino before. When she was younger, her parents would stop at Spirit Mountain for the buffet and she and her brother would share from their parents' plates.

From Grand Ronde, the princesses were scheduled to board a bus and return to the Portland area for an evening dinner.

Wallace added that she is appreciative of the "limitless opportunities" being a Rose Festival princess has offered her while Cooper said she appreciates the "countless connections" she has made.

Wallace said she will be heading to Western Washington University in the fall to study either theater or law enforcement while Cooper is headed to the University of Oregon to study product design and minor in business.

In addition to Bobb, Tribal Council members Chris Mercier and Toby McClary and Public Affairs Director Siobhan Taylor attended the event and mingled with the court.