Once upon a time I was an Apple Blossom Festival Princess. The year was 2009 and it was my town’s Centennial. I wore the crown, the white dress and the gloves and represented Middleton, NS with pride.
Now let’s Flash-forward 6 years to one of the craziest days of my life, Apple Blossom Festival Saturday 2015 a day that tested my mind, body and my soul a little bit. Jet-legged after a strange night of chips and dancing I set out to help promote an upcoming event at the restaurant that I work at in both of the day’s parades. It was crazy. As you can see, I was a little Frozen as “Elsa” on a very warm Spring day.
For the shorter parade early in the day there were other superheroes and princesses with me in the parade. For the Grande Street Parade I was the lone princess and met with hugs and “Elsa, Elsa” cheers everywhere I went. As crappy as I felt it made my day to light-up so many children’s (and adults) ABF.
With that being said, I was in the costume and made-up from 9am until 5pm and then I returned to Boston Pizza to waitress for the rest of the evening. Unfortunately there was no time to remove the makeup and the hair extensions so I looked a little strange and definitely not like myself until about 10:30pm when I finally returned home.
The next day I was sweating glitter when I hit the gym.
It was totally worth it; all the hugs, the smiles, the long-squats to talk to kids and the jogging to catch-up to my float (I had to constantly play catch-up because so many people wanted to take pictures and hug me).
Why did I do it? I’m not a weirdo. I may be a giant Disney nerd, but threatening I am not. I did it for multiple reasons. Attention is near the bottom of the list. Originally I did it to help out a friend with a marketing/promotional event; I know how hard it can be to get people to do things like this to promote bringing in business so I figured I would do anything to help.
The reason I owned it, even though I felt horrible and would have rather stayed in bed was because as a kid all I wanted was to go to Disney World. Seriously, that was it. My family would go to local festivals but we never had the chance to go on a family vacation, my parents could not afford to lose the time working at their small businesses. As an adult I have experienced both Disneyworld and Disneyland and I know how special it feels to be acknowledged, even for a moment, by your favourite characters. You may get older, but that feeling never does.
I know for a lot of children here in the Annapolis Valley festivals like Apple Blossom and the Annapolis Valley Exhibition are as close as they get to a family vacation or even a family outing. To bring a little bit of Disney magic to them here at home brought me out of my horrible mood and truly inspired me to suck it up and get on with the show. You never know what might come from the light in the eyes of a child or an adult for that matter!
You might think I am being a little silly, but taking part in the Apple Blossom Parade dressed as Elsa brought back a unique feeling that I had only felt once before when I was Princess Middleton 2009. On our Apple Blossom Tour of the Annapolis Valley we visited my first school, Annapolis East Elementary School. We were working our way down the Valley visiting each of the Princesses’ hometowns and I still feel that my stop was the most special. I was a town employee; I coached tennis and worked in the day camps during the summer and while I was in high school I refereed minor hockey and was heavily involved in sports so many of the children knew me or had a connection in some way.
We arrived at the school about 30 minutes after I spilled a glass of chocolate milk over my slim-fitting, easy to manage Princess Gown so my mother had to meet me with a dress we had all started calling “The Monster” because it was huge. Seriously, it was big and heavy and took one or two small children out every event that I went to.
After changing dresses we were ushered into the school
like true royalty. I was introduced to the children and I swear they cheered
louder than any other group of students during school visits. Sorry to the
other Princesses who may be reading this, in Middleton we are a competitive
bunch and these things matter to us. Instead of a normal Princess Q&A that
other schools did a bunch of my tennis students pumped some tunes in the gym
and we danced with all of the children. There were so many children yelling “Katie,
Katie” and fighting to dance with me that I thought we were never going to be
able to leave the school that day. There were some tears.
|That's me in the middle in "The Monster" back in 2009.|
|Someone even made me a Barbie!|
My experience with the Apple Blossom Festival this year was very similar. I would say about 90% of the children really knew in their hearts that I was not Elsa, but they did not care they were just happy to be acknowledged with a smile, wave, hug or a couple of quick words.
The whole time I had one quote in my head, a little something I have been trying to incorporate in my personal and professional life for quite a while now:
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”-Carl W Buechner
So here is my Monday Motivation for you, go make someone feel something that makes you proud to be human.
BTW here is what my day looked like...