Festival Queen Sandy Poutala among this year's five-generation court
The Sandy Mountain Festival has named Sandy Poutala as queen of its 2017 festivities.
Five generations of Sandy ladies will represent the city during the July event in Meinig Park. The court nominates local women and girls for their service to the community.
Poutala will be on court accompanied by princesses Rebecca Sintek, Shannon Brown, Phoenix Gan and Taylor Heller.
The date of the official coronation has yet to be determined, but former court members are encouraged to attend.
Queen Sandy Poutala
Poutala is 72 years old and has spent 38 of those years living and working in Sandy. A native Oregonian, she was a professional photographer, capturing many years of the mountain festival in her time, while owning and operating the Cedar Springs Country Estate wedding venue for 24 years.
"I just have been involved with the festival for years," Poutala says of her recent designation as queen of the this year's festival. "I was so taken aback when Lynette called."
Now Poutala devotes much of her time to being an alpaca rancher, and working in fiber arts, and has no plans of leaving her town.
"I just love this city," she explains. "It's like Mayberry, and the parade is so nostalgic, and I hope it never changes. This is one thing that is really dear to my heart."
Princess Rebecca Sintek
Sintek, 62, has lived in Sandy for 20 years and originally from Wyoming. She is a co-leader of the Sandy livestock 4-H Club and is heavily involved with the local Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization, working in preparation for FFA competitions and judging, while raising cattle on the side.
Sintek is the founder and leader of the Sandy Kids-R-Us sewing club, and she has been nationally recognized twice in the "Make it with Wool" competition, winning the contest with her black-and-white houndstooth jacket and black slacks in January.
"I've had breast cancer twice, so my philosophy is I choose life," she says of taking the position on the court. "As a non-native here, it's an honor to represent the community."
Princess Shannon Brown
Originally from California, Brown has lived in Sandy for the past nine years. The 46-year-old is a marketing consultant for the Gresham Outlook newspaper and has worked in marketing and publicity for the Sandy Mountain Festival for eight years. When she's not selling advertisements for the paper or working for the festival, Brown likes to spend time with her family camping and attending her son's numerous school events.
Being on court this year, she said she's most looking forward to "being an ambassador of the Sandy Mountain Festival and getting to know the four other lovely ladies (on court)."
Princess Phoenix Gan
Gan is a 15-year-old freshman at Oregon Trail Academy (OTA). Though her family has traveled quite a bit in her lifetime, she is native to Sandy, and one of many generations in her family to be born there.
At school, Gan is editor of the yearbook, a member of the Key Club, runs on the track team and plays soccer. Outside of school, she likes to play piano and appreciates many different kinds of artwork, such as painting with watercolors and beading. She also sells her beaded jewelry.
Gan hopes to graduate with an associate's degree and an International Baccalaureate diploma. She plans to attend at least one year of college before taking off on a two-year mission. In the long run, she hopes to earn a doctorate and become an archaeology professor.
In life, and more immediately in her capacity as princess, she looks forward to "the experience of being able to go out and do these things I've never done before."
Princess Taylor Heller
Six-year-old Heller is a student at East Orient Elementary School. Her family has lived in Sandy since she was an infant.
When she's not reading or absorbing science lessons at school, she likes playing softball on the Gresham Barlow youth team. She also enjoys participating in gymnastics classes and requested that her father make her a hand-made balance beam to practice on at home.
Heller said she is very excited to be in the parade and stand alongside her fellow royalty on the stage at coronation.