SEATTLE — Seafair is celebrating its 73rd season and the nearly 3,000 volunteers who make the event possible -- including Seafair royalty.
Seafair royalty has been part of the event's history since its inception. The royalty greeted visiting dignitaries, attended ceremonial events in the city and played an ambassador role to encourage more people to take part in Seafair.
Seafair picks individuals who are celebrated for their philanthropic contributions to the area and for inspiring their communities.
Shellie Hart was chosen to become Seafair royalty in 2016 and she will become the first ever returning queen in Seafair's history. Hart is a longtime radio personality who has most recently been with WARM 106.9 for 10 years.
Her work in the community includes being a fan engagement emcee with the 4 time WNBA Champion team the Seattle Storm and the PA voice for OL REIGN.
"It’s an absolute blast. My job through all of these community events and through Seafair is that people have a good time and make memories!” Hart said.
Rich Gray is an award-winning actor and composer who has worked with many local theaters including the 5th Avenue Theater, ACT Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theater and ArtsWest. He’s also an assistant theater professor at Cornish College of the Arts. Seafair’s King Neptune for 2022 says he’s thrilled to spread the joy again.
“To be King Neptune you have to love the city, smile, wave, be outgoing and willing to have fun with people. That’s pretty much the job description!” laughed Gray.
He retains the crown he wore in 2019 and says a few years off have helped to gain a new perspective on Seafair’s legacy. “What traditions do we want to maintain and what new traditions do we want to start?”
This year's Miss Seafair is a Ph.D. student in epidemiology at the University of Washington. Anne Massey says she’s been attending Seafair her whole life and is thrilled to have been chosen for the honor. Massey says it’s through a scholarship application that she learned about Miss Seafair.
Massey studies outbreak detection and response as well as gun violence, and her dissertation is focused on suicide prevention. She does academic research, works closely with the Washington State Department of Health and county health departments as well as assists students through STEM mentorship.
Seafair is a registered a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides scholarships and educational opportunities beyond the community celebrations they’re known for.
More than 30 official Seafair events reach more than two million people and it’s a hefty annual slate of events for a dedicated bunch.
“Seafair is a summer celebration but as Seafair we have to remind ourselves that this is a non-profit and there are hundreds of volunteers who have been a part of Seafair for a number of years,” Hart said.