New bonds forged by court members

The 2017-18 Miss Sunnyside court traveled to more than 20 parades throughout the year, including the August parade in Grandview during the week of the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo.

Photo by Jennie McGhan
The 2017-18 Miss Sunnyside court traveled to more than 20 parades throughout the year, including the August parade in Grandview during the week of the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo.



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Miss Sunnyside Janessa Frank reads to preschool students as one of her last duties.

Sunshine events on tap

There won’t be a festival, but festivities in celebration of Sunnyside are still planned this coming Friday and Saturday for Sunshine Days.

There will be a tailgate party at 6 p.m. at Clem Senn Field in preparation for the 7 p.m. Grizzlies game against the Richland Bombers.

Saturday morning, community members can support the Sunnyside Fire Department’s community outreach programs with breakfast.

The firefighters will be preparing pancakes, sausage and other foods to be enjoyed at the fire station on South Eighth Street prior to the parade.

Breakfast starts at 7 a.m.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m.

Entries will travel west from the high school to Central Park.

Parade applications are available online at www.cometothesun.com.

The 2018-19 Miss Sunnyside court is preparing for its last public appearance as ambassadors for the community.

At 7 p.m. this Saturday, 10 other young ladies will take to the stage at Sunnyside High School’s auditorium with hopes of fulfilling the role of those who came before them.

The current court, Miss Sunnyside Janessa Frank and princesses Kylah Bunch, Laurissa Ruiz and Trinity Hamil, will also be on stage, saying farewell to a year of bonding and special memories together.

During the past year, the four traveled near and far, taking part in more than 20 parades and meeting courts representing other communities in the state.

They worked on Frank’s community service project, a family fun run this past summer. That event raised money for the local Special Olympics, Frank said.

“I think the kids really enjoyed it,” she said, noting the volunteers and participants also had fun.

Other groups from Sunnyside High School volunteered to help with the event, including football players, cheerleaders, the dance team and the current candidates, Frank said.

“At the end, the Sunnyside Fire Department arrived to hose everyone off,” she said, adding it may become an annual fundraiser for the Miss Sunnyside program.

“It turned out better than I hoped,” Frank said.

Bunch, who served as first princess, said there were many other memories shared throughout the year.

A highlight for her was spending time with the other three on the court.

“Our bond made it most entertaining and memorable,” Bunch said of the 12 months the four spent together.

They admitted to sharing plenty of food runs together, wanting something to eat before, during and after every parade. On overnights, a late night trip to Dutch Bros. was common, Bunch said.

“And, Laurissa entertained us with her non-stop dancing,” she said.

“We all come from different groups of friends, and when we come together, we enjoy each other,” Frank said.

She said the four bonded so well, there are times they only need to give one another a specific look and everyone will begin laughing.

Frank and Ruiz said it hasn’t always been easy for their other friends to understand the special relationship the court has. When they wanted to spend time together, their other friends questioned it.

“But, eventually, they learned it was just part of who I am,” Ruiz said.

They have shared “crazy” times together like an 11 p.m. run to get coffee.

“We paid in dimes,” Frank said.

When they stayed at the Davenport in Spokane, Bunch said Ruiz wanted to walk through the halls in the middle of the night to see if they would encounter any ghosts.

Ruiz said a chaperone who sleepwalks tried to enter the court’s room through a shared door, but found it locked. The girls heard laughing and it scared them.

“There were a lot of good naps,” Hamil said, noting the four were often up early on parade days. So, they took advantage of lulls in the schedule.

“We often ended up piled onto one bed together,” Frank laughed.

The earliest they had to be awake was 4 a.m. “We tried to get up at 3, but we kept shutting off the alarm,” Hamil said.

Since their first appearance — Sunnyside High School’s homecoming parade — the girls have learned to celebrate their differences, finding common ground.

They learned the importance of team work and worked together to make the Sunnyside Community Float — Eastern Dreams — a reality after Frank’s mother found a photo of something similar in pictures of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

Finishing their year will be bittersweet. This week, Frank read books for preschool students at United Methodist Preschool, where she attended 12 years ago.

Together the girls will travel one last parade route in the Sunshine Days Parade locally at 10 a.m. Saturday. They wrap it all as they crown the 2018-19 court.



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