Oakville Royalty Court Highlighted Ahead of Independence Day Festivities 


Oakville’s Independence Day celebration, always held on the first Saturday in July, has a history that goes back beyond the memories of even the old-timers. 

The parade down U.S. Highway 12 is made up of the usual rural spectacles — logging rigs, kids on horses, farm equipment and more. But amid all that you might catch the incongruous flash of a rhinestone tiara.

“Small town life has a lot going for it,” said Roberta Wilkinson, president of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and co-coordinator of the Oakville Independence Day Royalty Court, “But for teens here, it can sometimes feel like there’s not a lot going on. Royalty Court is a way for us to acknowledge our exceptional youth and have a little fun.”

The Oakville Independence Day Royalty Court program is open to all youths ages 10 through 19 who live in the 98568 ZIP code. Candidates write essays about their accomplishments and their community, provide letters of recommendation from the teachers and other adults who know them best and sell fundraising buttons to help support the royalty court scholarship fund, which awards $500 for college or technical school to the 16- to 19-year-old “Monarch” of the court.

Andrea Mendez-Castro, this year’s Monarch and a junior at Oakville High School, is proud to represent her Mexican-American heritage as part of the court. 

She said, “I stand for equal diversity and being proud of where you come from,” a sentiment reflected in her participation in a school improvement focus group.

Courtier Jolynn Reed, also a junior at Oakville High School, says that her goal as a member of the court is to, “tell the kids of Oakville that they will always have people on their side, even when it doesn’t feel like it.”

The sashes and crowns have their own appeal, of course. Junior Courtier, Caitlyn Burnett, a seventh-grader at Oakville Middle School and a veteran in her second year on the court, had this memory to share: “At one of the parades, a little girl looked at me with complete awe in her eyes and told her mom, ‘Look, it’s a pretty princess!”

Royalty court coordinator Jessica Spitzer grew up in the area and is dedicated to students at Oakville High School, where she coaches girls basketball and is instrumental in making school events such as prom magical. 

“Jessica is the visionary,” Wilkinson said. “She gets the kids excited, recruits at the school and brings her great design eye to our floats.” 

“I’m proud to be part of bringing this tradition back to Oakville!” Spitzer said.

The Oakville Independence Day Royalty Court will appear in the Oakville Independence Day Parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 1. 

Additional events following the parade will include the Scoot the Route Car Show, Talking Cedar Beer Garden, local food and craft vendors as well as a Kids Zone full of free activities, all between Center and Allen streets along U.S. Highway 12.

For more information on the Oakville Chamber of Commerce Royalty Court and Independence Day event, email OakvilleChamberCommerce@gmail.com or call 360-930-9256.