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Granger women turn sleuths to uncover lost royalty records

GRANGER - The women of the Granger Historical Society liken themselves to Agatha Christie-style lady detectives of mystery books. In fact, they are becoming quite skilled at ferreting out the clues to the mysteries of missing historical Granger facts as they organize the history of their Lower Yakima Valley community. Since opening the Granger Museum just two years ago, the women, led by their president Helen Dodd, have written one book about the town and are currently engaged in writing a second book, said Mary Kresse, the lead sleuth on the project. "We are currently working on locating and preserving this history of the town's Cherry Festival royalty," she explained. Among those working on the project are Ann Liebert, Pam Fleming, Elissa Simonson and Helen Reddout. Two of Reddout's daughters served on the Miss Cherry Festival courts in the 60s and 70s. The early years of the 65-year-old community festival's history is pretty much complete, Kresse said. "However, we don't have much information about Cherry Festival courts since about 2008. We are completely missing any information about 1988," she said. Kresse draws on her years as an employee with the Granger Trade, a small community newspaper which operated for about 10 year in the community, to gather a fair portion of facts and photographs concerning the Miss Cherry Festival royalty, including the candidates involved in the pageants. The society's detectives have also combed the archives of the Toppenish Review and former Zillah Independent and Yakima Herald Republic newspaper morgues. They intend to begin a thorough search of the Daily Sun News archives in the coming weeks. Now, the amateur historians are seeking help from the community to help them fill in the gaps in their research. Anyone with photographs, names, old programs and other memorabilia concerning Granger's Cherry Festival royalty is asked to contact the Granger Historical Society at Grangerhistoricalsociety@gmail.com. Items may also be mailed to Granger Historical Society, P.O. Box 605, Granger, WA. 98932 Photographs and other paraphernalia can be dropped off at the museum, located next to the Granger Community Library, 508 Sunnyside Ave., Granger. The museum is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m.

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