The Lilac Festival made changes this year to how it selected its princesses.
Seven princesses were named Dec. 10. From them, a queen will be chosen in January.
The 2017 Lilac Court is Taylor Bastian, Mt. Spokane High School; Ava Beck, Lewis and Clark High School; August Corppetts, Gonzaga Preparatory School; Olivia Marx, Rogers High School; Marissa Minton West, Valley High School; Hannah Mumm, Central Valley High School; and Summer Reid, Ferris High School.
In previous years, first the festival picked the “Fab 14” who went through weeks of training, then in late January picked the queen and six princesses.
Lilac Association co-president Cindy Zapotocky said 29 high schools in Spokane County were eligible to select a Lilac princess candidate. This year 15 schools did, she said.
“The last couple of years the number of candidates has been between 15 and 20,” Zapotocky said.
Instead of cutting some of the potential princesses after just two weeks this year, the Lilac Association put all candidates through a five-week training program that focused on resume writing, leadership, interview and other professional skills.
“We got some complaints questioning if the young women who were cut after two weeks got a fair shot,” Zapotocky said.
Others complained that candidates would go through the whole selection process only to be cut at the coronation.
“It’s expensive for the young women to participate and it’s very time consuming,” Zapotocky said.
The competition comes at an already busy time for the candidates who are in their senior year and applying for college at the same time.
“So they spend a lot of time and money on the program and then they got cut,” Zapotocky said. “We want to make sure they get value from the program.”
Zapotocky said the Lilac Festival is developing from “just being a beauty pageant” to become more of a scholarship and leadership program.
“We want to make sure we are giving something back to the schools and the community,” Zapotocky said.