Blankenship Three-year old Riley Blankenship was one of many children attending the sixth annual Princess Tea Party at Valley Park in Hurricane on Saturday, April 21. Photo by David Payne Sr.

ROTARIANS IN THE COMMUNITY . . .

Several Rotarians assisted in the Princess Tea Party at Valley Park.

Springer, Rader, McComas
Rotarians Denise Springer (left) and Tina McComas keep check on Maleficent, the Mistress of All Evil (Rotarian Elaine Rader), who is searching for Princess Aurora.

Joe Haynes
Maleficent catches Rotarian Joe Haynes instead of the princess.

Ever After
And every princess lives happily ever after.

FIT FOR A PRINCESS
Hundreds of children enjoy annual Tea Party

BY David Payne Sr.
The Putnam Standard

April 25, 2012

HURRICANE -- Unfortunately, even a wave of the fairy godmother's magic wand couldn't make rain disappear.

However, that didn't stop the hundreds of young princesses attending the Sixth Annual Princesses Tea Party at Valley Park on April 21 from having a good time.

The free event allows children from one to 12 years old to meet various princes and princesses of Disney fame.

While dreary weather kept many away this year, the event has been growing since its inception six years ago.

Organizers say it's become a regional draw, attracting not just young princesses from Putnam County, but outlying counties as well as Ohio and Kentucky, Some have even attended from as far away as Virginia and Georgia.

The princesses and their entourages of family lined up at the door and were greeted by a fairy godmother, Karen Haynes, who organizes (he event.

"We're having a party regardless of rain or shine. Every girl needs a chance to be a princess for a day." she said.

The princesses and princes available for meeting and photo opportunities represented many of the most popular of Disney fame, including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty (who had apparently been previously awakened), lasrnine, Pocahontas, Ariel and Tinker-bell.

Haynes said last year more than 1. 000 children attended l he event.

With parents and guardians for each, it makes for a very large draw.

After a greeting and a photo opportunity with the fairy godmother who could make dreams of meeting various Disney Princesses in person come true - the children traveled from one member of Disney Royalty to another.

While rainy weather didn't permit the planned living-carpet simulator, children were able to color, decorate crowns and enjoy refreshments.

Huntington resident Linda Blankenship brought her three-year-old princess Riley, who was dressed as Snow White.

"This is our first year here. It's been a really great experience for her," she said.

Duane Ruggier, 16-year-old Hurricane High School sophomore. tilled the role of Prince Charming, complete with Disney hero prince-inspired outfit.

"All these little girls come up and ask me it I'm a real prince," he said.

He looked just as comfortable in his Prince Charming garb as in his football uniform. He certainly was a hit with the age 1-12 princess crowd.

"I''ve really enjoyed the experience. I'll probably even borrow this outfit for prom," he said, jokingly.

Characters
The Princesses and Princes who volunteered at Saturday's sixth annual Princess Tea Party at Valley Park om Hurricane gather for a group photo.Photo courtesy of Joe Haynes

Contact writer David Payne at davidpayne@theputnamstandard.com.
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