VANCOUVER, Wash. — Seafair is more than a summer celebration for Dan and Janis Wyatt.
Back in 1971, Seafair launched their love story. They recollected how it began, from their home in Vancouver Washington.
“I was representing the Navy as Prince of the Fleet,” Dan said.
"I was his escort, during his time at Seafair,”Janis said.
They still have a photo from the festivities in 1971 of Dan being crowned Prince, as Janis looks on. The smile on her face says it all.
"The first thing I noticed was, he is handsome. I noticed he seemed strong. And his arms seemed so strong,” she said. “I don’t know why, I'm not attracted to arms, but his arms just seemed really strong, like he's somebody that's a gentle giant. And very kind."
The "Prince of the Fleet" was falling for his escort as well.
"I think, just her personality, she's very outgoing, and you know, she talked a lot, and I didn't like to talk,” Dan said. “I thought that would be a plus, you know, and it has worked out fine!"
Dan and Janis got engaged over Thanksgiving and were married less than a year later.
"If you know you know, right?" Dan said.
They've lived those vows, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health. Together, they endured losing their adult daughter to breast cancer four years ago.
“I don't think you ever get over it, you know," Dan said. "Just every day, take one day at a time."
In 2022, on July 8th, they celebrated their 50-year anniversary. The key to staying together for half a century? “Just be good to each other, I think that's the big thing,” said Janis. "Time flies, that's what I'm telling you. Just enjoy life, work hard, play hard,” added Dan.
And every August, when Seafair comes around yet again, it's a special time for these two: "It became magic. And thank you Seafair for putting us together,” said Janis. “If it wasn't for Seafair we'd never have happened!" And that crown? They still have it. It's an important piece of this fairy tale. And Dan’s wife proved that it still fits fine by placing it atop his head. "Looks just like him. My prince,” said Janis.