A Party Fit for Royal-Tea : Princess Tea 2022 at Laurel Creek Manor

A young guest at the Princess Tea – decked out in our favorite color – is all smiles while having tea with a Daffodil Princess. [photo courtesy of Jeff Ritter]
The Daffodil Festival Princess Tea took place on Sunday, May 1st, 2022, at Laurel Creek Manor in Sumner. One of the final official events of the Daffodil hosting season, the Princess Tea is a special occasion on the Royal Court’s calendar, as it is one of their best opportunities to get personal with some of their biggest fans: children!

Princesses welcome party guests to Laurel Creek Manor in Sumner. [photo courtesy of Jeff Ritter]
While the idea of a tea party might sound a bit staid and old-fashioned, the event itself is anything but. The tables do boast some pretty delicious tea, as well as savories and sweets – including strawberry lemonade, sandwiches, pastries, and more – but the real draw lies in getting some one-on-one time with a Princess. Dance parties, lessons on magic words like “please” and “thank you,” and tons of memory-making photo opportunities abound, which makes it one of the most popular Daffodil events of the year. Needless to say, it’s an event near and dear to the hearts of both Daffodil Princesses and Daffodilians alike. Queen Clara, representing Curtis High School, gained her crown – as well as the title of Miss Congeniality – at Queen’s Coronation back at the end of March. She’s been busy filling her time since then with a myriad of different appearances, including the Grand Floral Parade back in April, as well as finishing out the remainder of her own senior year. However, in the midst of all of this, the Princess Tea stood out as an especially valuable moment for her, because of its impact on local kids. “Interacting with children as a member of the Royal Court [helps] sow the seeds of familiarity of the Festival within the community. If we can impact the youngest of society, we establish roots that allow us to grow together as we pursue excellence.”

Queen Clara dances up a storm with the 2022 Royal Court and their guests at the Princess Tea. [photo courtesy of Jeff Ritter]
For Queen Clara, knowing that the little girls she danced with on the patio of Laurel Creek Manor could grow up to be Princesses themselves, made for some of the sweetest interactions. “My favorite part of Princess Tea was observing the awe of the younger generation,” she says, “and knowing that in just a few years, this could be attained by them, too.” For Director of Royalty Demetria Zuniga, the slightly more stately nature of a tea party, makes for one picture-perfect event. “To me the most special thing about the Princess Tea is seeing the little girls – and boys – all dressed up, and excited to interact with the Princesses,” she says. “It is nice to have an event where they can look their best, and make lasting memories!” Zuniga became involved with the Festival when her own daughter, Jordan, served as a Daffodil Princess for Rogers High School in 2012. For her, one of the key elements of the Princess Tea is watching those kinds of family relationships interact in such a unique setting. “One of my favorite memories is seeing the generations that come to the Princess Tea. Grandma, mom, daughter, granddaughter… and watching the sparkle in all of their eyes when the girls are having a dance party with royalty!” As someone who has been active with the Festival for almost a decade, this event also leaves her thankful for the important relationships she’s formed within the organization, too. Some of her favorite memories include “working side by side with our awesome Board, Chaperones, Alumni and Alumni Moms.” Truly, it takes a real crew to staff this kind of a party, and having those vital personal connections available to support such an incredible legacy occasion is instrumental to its continued success. Queen Clara also recognized the importance of Daffodilian and volunteer involvement in the background of such a socially oriented event, behind the scenes. “Everything was so carefully thought out by the Daffodilians and volunteers,” she says, “so knowing the intricacy behind the event truly made it special.” The Princess Tea also serves as one of the last events including a full Court appearance, before the Daffodil Princesses graduate from high school next month. The Royal Court is busy in the midst of planning things like Prom, Grad Parties, and their own trips to new schools, and even new states, come Fall.

A young guest taps the point of her tiara, which were given out as party gifts. [photo courtesy of Jeff Ritter]
Zuniga has a special perspective on the development of these young leaders… after all, as Director of Royalty, she is one of the foremost Festival leaders in coordinating their training, not to mention public appearances! The knowledge that the Princess Tea is one of their final full Court events gives perspective to a significant sense of growth. “I feel this Court has truly bonded and have had the pleasure of getting to know each other more through appearances,” she says. “My favorite part of being with the Daffodil Festival Royalty is seeing the change, of the timid Princess Candidate blossom into confident Princess and Ambassador!” Those personal relationships form one of the most valuable and personal aspects of being a Daffodil Princess, and one that truly does make the Daffodil Festival representative of their communities. “I love seeing the friendships develop between Princesses who live on opposite ends of Pierce County,” she says, “and would have never met if it were not for Daffodil!” Queen Clara recognized the significance of the occasion, as well, one that was marked with both fondness and a sense of completion. “It felt truly surreal… we first learned this dance together as strangers, but over time, have gained familiarity towards each other and our quickly approaching futures. Princess Tea may have been the last performance, but like with everything, the last needs to come before a new beginning.” The end of full Court appearances – and their high school careers – only really means that her Royal Court can begin to expand their horizons further. “I am truly excited to embark on my new beginning, with my yellow lifelong friends.” As for Queen Clara herself, she’s already got some plans at work, too. After all, this Fall, she’ll be heading towards Grand Canyon University to further her own educational goals. “Graduation and Summer brings new opportunities for memories!” she says. “I’m so ready to soak in these last few moments with my family and newfound friends. I’m looking forward to the Arizona, and new ways to love intentionally and authentically!”

The 2022 Royal Court performs their official song-and-dance routine – Andra Day’s “Rise Up” – for one of the last times, in front of a crowd of guests at Laurel Creek Manor. [photo courtesy of Jeff Ritter]
Don’t worry: the 2022 Royal Court isn’t disbanding  just yet! You can continue to see the Princesses appearing at various local events throughout the Spring and Summer, across Pierce County and beyond. Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Instagram accounts for more info. Are you a local high school Junior, getting ready for a Senior year that you’re hoping might include the Daffodil Festival? We’re so happy to hear it! Check out our blog, The Buzz, for a past blogpost about the Selection process in the Fall. Make sure you reach out to your school’s Daffodil Coordinator before you break for Summer, for any additional information they might be able to share!

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