When Catherine Tapales was appointed to the Astoria Regatta Court in February, she didn’t imagine her experience would include shadowing a pathologist at Columbia Memorial Hospital and spending hours reviewing medical slides.
But the court’s mentorship program allowed Tapales to do just that. Rolled out last year, the program connects each of the five court members with a mentor who introduces them to professionals in their desired career fields.
“I got to meet a bunch of new people that I wouldn’t normally know,” Tapales said. “I got a bunch of new relationships that will help me a lot.”
Wednesday, Aug. 8, the Astoria Regatta kicks off its 124th year of creating community tradition with the theme “Making Waves.”
The four-day annual event begins with the Past Queen’s Reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Liberty Theatre to honor 2017 Regatta Queen Megan Postlewait, a recent Astoria High School graduate. The Regatta wraps up Saturday, Aug. 11, with the Columbia River Symphony Concert.
Other highlights include the Kiwanis Junior Parade; the Regatta Square at Duane Avenue and 12th Street, the Grand Land Parade and the Highwater Boat Parade. A full schedule of events can be found on the Astoria Regatta website.
Regatta Square include a fun zone for kids, healthy food courtesy of Columbia Memorial Hospital, fire department trucks and a health fair with multi-disciplines in attendance, such as orthopedics and general surgery. A band made up of entirely CMH staff plays throughout the day. For the first time, Regatta Square is sponsored and organized by the Columbia Memorial Hospital.
“(The Square) is going to look a lot different than it has in the past,” said Julie Flues, this year’s Regatta president.
In January, Flues won the George Award, the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce citizen of the year award. It is her first time as a dignitary.
“It’s been really nice to get involved with something that’s been a part of our local tradition for so many years,” she said.
Other dignitaries are Heather Seppa as Regatta Admiral, Nicolle Landwehr as Admiral’s Aide and Skip Hauke as Regatta Parade Grand Marshal.
The Regatta Court
The Regatta is also represented by five local high school girls who make up the Regatta Court. The court attends local parades and gives speeches to community groups from when they are chosen in February to Regatta week in August.
This year’s court are princesses Danielle Morinville from Knappa High School, Tapales from Warrenton High School, Nikkole Sasso from Astoria High School and Katie Zagata from Seaside High School, and 2017 Regatta Queen Postlewait.
Penny Cowden, the executive director of the CMH Foundation and this year’s mentor for Sasso, arranged meetings for Sasso with local public relations and communication professionals. It’s Cowden’s first year as a mentor.
“It’s been one of the best volunteer experiences I’ve ever had,” Cowden said. “It’s been really rewarding. I’ve enjoyed it so much.”
Giving up the crown
This year’s queen will be chosen at the long-awaited Regatta Queen’s Coronation and Reception on Wednesday, Aug. 8, at The Liberty Theater at 7 p.m. Queen Postlewait said she’ll miss the community of the court and the experience of the Regatta when she gives up her crown this year.
Postlewait graduated from Astoria High School in the spring and plans to attend Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., as a computer science major.
“I think it’s going to be really sad,” Postlewait said. “I’ve wanted to be on the Regatta Court for so many years. Now I’m the queen, and it’ll be different for me to not have that dream because I’ve wanted it for so long … It’ll be bittersweet.”