A striving still picture artist, budding singer, horse-trainer hopeful, potential firefighter or teacher and aspiring ice-cream shop owner walk into a bar.
In other words, five candidates for Little Miss Friendly attended a lunch with the Kiwanis Club at O’Blarney’s Irish Pub in Centralia on Thursday.
The candidates are the finalists from 14 title-holder hopefuls who interviewed for the program on Aug. 1.
Dating back to 1968, the Kiwanis Club has played a role in the contest, which decides who will become the living logo of the Southwest Washington Fair for a year. The first-ever Little Miss Friendly was the daughter of the club’s most senior member.
“We’re honored to have you visiting,” said Kiwanis President Bob Holland. “Our club has a long history of helping with Little Miss Friendly.”
The winner of the title will be announced on Tuesday, the opening day of the fai, during a ceremony that begins at 6 p.m. This week, the girls have many chances to prove their friendliness, poise and charm.
The finalists are Jaxsyn Lowrey, 10, of Adna; Emma Britton, 9, of Chehalis; Finley Swope, 8, of Centralia; Gracelyn Briggs, 9, of Centralia and Ella Hughes, 9, of Centralia.
They told The Chronicle on Thursday about their hectic week, as their parents on the other half of the table smiled with pride and slight exhaustion.
To Finley and Gracelyn, the highlight was when they discovered they were in the final five.
For others, the best part so far has been visiting the Lewis County Courthouse where they were able to “speak in microphones,” Ella said, and “Meet Finley’s dad (Commissioner Sean Swope),” Emma said.
Jaxsyn said her favorite part of the week was a potluck at the fairgrounds.
At lunch with the Kiwanis Club, the girls were told by one member to “never let anyone tell you a job is just for men.” Then, they were off to Morton in the evening for the Loggers’ Jubilee Queen coronation.
Of course, Ella, Emma, Gracelyn, Jaxsyn and Finley are all vying for the title. But, their parents on Thursday said the best part of the contest has been seeing their daughters make new friends.
“These girls have a lot to handle,” said current titleholder MaKayla Maynard. “But they will have a lot of fun.”