2023 Capital Lakefair Grand Parade Saturday, July 15th

by James O’Barr

Olympia’s Capital Lakefair turns 66 this year, but retirement is not a word in the Capitalarian vocabulary. Lakefair Week will run from Wednesday, July 12th to Sunday, July 16th, and every one of those days Heritage Park will be brimful of food concessions, craft vendors, the Funtastic Carnival, and main stage live performances. But all of these have been relative latecomers to the festivities. The Lakefair Royalty Court, however, originated with the first Lakefair in 1957, and the Grand Parade started marching down Capitol Way in 1961.

Lakefair parade 1997, photo personal collection Suzanne Skaar

Grand Marshall

Dick Pust

This year’s parade Grand Marshall, Dick Pust, is no late-comer to Olympia community life, or to Lakefair.  Pust began his radio career at KGY-AM 1240 in 1959, and is still on the air with a weekly public affairs program on KXXO-FM. He was a Washington State Broadcaster of the Year, and has won recognition from the National Association of Broadcasters. His book, “AM 1240—Life at a Small Town Radio Station,” is filled with local history, including many stories about Lakefair. Most famously, he was inducted into the Olympia High School Hall of Fame, is a distinguished alum of St. Martin’s University, and his niece, Sarah Pust, was a member of the Lakefair Royalty Court in 1996.

Royalty Court

Candidates for the Lakefair Royalty Court are chosen by area high schools. After participating in a selection process earlier this year, six young women, from Capital, Timberline, Avanti, Sunrise Beach, Olympia, and Black Hills high schools, were nominated to serve on the Court, one of whom will be named Lakefair Queen. Each member of the Court receives a $3000 scholarship, the Queen an additional $2000, and remaining candidates $500, for use in any form of higher education, including traditional academic, trade school, or vocational training.

Royalty Court left to right: Hailey Akers, Eliana Egrubay, Aurora Coakley, Daynnie Hansen, Abigail Vandenburg-Flodstrom, and Chinmayee Kuntulu

This year’s Royalty Court includes Daynnie Hansen, Aurora Coakley, Hailey Akers, Eliana Egrubay, Chinmayee Kuntulu, and Abigail Vandenburg-Flodstrom, and these are a few things they want us to know about them and their plan for the future:

Daynnie Hansen:
Hello, I’m Daynnie Hansen, and I represent Capital High School. I have absolutely loved, and enjoyed, being part of Capital Lakefair’s Royalty Court. Every community event and parade is unique and has brought me so many wonderful, and special, memories, and I cannot wait for more! I have especially enjoyed getting to know my fellow royalty court members better and becoming friends with these amazing young ladies! I look forward to giving back to the community as Queen, and hope to inspire the younger generation to take care of our community and to take care of each other! My current college plan is to attend the University of Washington (Go Husky’s) and study Psychology. 

Aurora Coakley:
Hello, my name is Aurora Coakley, and I proudly represent the home of the Blazers, Timberline High School. I have loved being a part of Capital Lakefair’s Royalty Court. Every parade and community event has been so much fun; I love seeing the joy we can bring to others. It has been wonderful to make friends with these amazing girls, and I look forward to the amazing bonding experiences and community events the rest of this year will bring. I plan on graduating high school with my Associate of Arts through Running Start, then I plan to continue my education with a degree in English and attend Law school. 

Hailey Akers:
My name is Hailey Akers, and I am very proud to represent Avanti High School. I have already learned so much from this experience with Lakefair, and the journey has only just begun. I have loved meeting members from all different parts of our community and discovering things that I would have never discovered otherwise. From Bob Leingang fishing day, to the Princess Tea Party, to judging boats with the Yacht Club, to a meaningful conversation with “Kevin the Brit” from the KGY radio station. All of the events that Lakefair’s incredible court and I have had the honor of being a part of, and all of the ones that are to come, will have an impact on me that will last for the rest of my life. I am becoming a better communicator, a better team member, and expanding my awareness as a community member thanks to Lakefair.

Eliana Egrubay:
Princess Eliana Marie Egrubay, from Sunrise Beach High School, says, “It’s been an extraordinary opportunity to interact with members of this community and encourage one another, and together, we can help be a light impacting the world around us. She prays to major in nursing in college, with a minor in theology. “I pray that with these teachings, I will be able to help guide and help those I meet and care for physically and further my relationship with God spiritually.” 

Egrubay says that being a Lakefair princess has allowed her to share her testimony and be a light to her young admirers. “Being a princess has allowed me to show poise, grace, love, care, and dedication to all I encounter. Meeting little girls has been the greatest blessing of this whole experience. Through this platform, I can encourage them that with God a loving heart, and perseverance, one can do the impossible.”

Chinmayee Kuntulu: 
My name is Chinmayee Kuntulu, and I attend Olympia High School, I am privileged to represent my community and travel to other places as one of the ambassadors for Lakefair. I am very active in school carrying five advanced placement classes, and participating in my school’s Robotics team, and now Lakefair.  This opportunity has opened so many doors for me, and I want to experience everything I can during my year. The scholarship is very important to me, and I plan to continue my education at Stanford University. I look forward to becoming lifelong friends with the other members of the court and experiencing all the other festivals, parades, and community activities with them. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent my school, the community, and Lakefair. 

Abba Vandenberg-Flodstrom:
My name is Abigail Vandenberg-Flodstrom, I go by Abba and attend Black Hills High School. I am the first Community Ambassador for Lakefair, I am a student with disabilities. I enjoyed the Princess Tea party and the fishing day. My favorite event was the boat ride, it was the first ever boat ride.

Capital Lakefair Grand Parade
Capital Way
Saturday, July 15th, at 5 p.m.

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