They didn’t plan small for the first Lettuce Festival. The Legion planned for national attention!
The first thing on the program was the coronation of the Lettuce Queen!
The queen was selected by the public with tickets acquired from local business.
“One ticket good for one vote will be given with each cash fifty cent purchase of merchandise, or in payment of the same on 30-day accounts.
Sealed ballot boxes will be provided at the various stores for convenience of voting.
Ballots will be counted each week by the festival committee and standings will be published each week in the newspaper.”
Kent News Journal, May 15, 1936 (This was the process for 1934-1936. In 1937, the queen was selected by committee)
After a tight race, Enos Genazzi was selected by the people of Kent and the coronation as completed by the mayor of Seattle.
Introduced for this the Lettuce Festival was the World’s Largest Salad!
Kent witnessed the “Greatest Parade in Kent History.” The parade line extended over two miles and it took an hour to pass the reviewing stand! First prize went to the Berlin Grocery Store, with a float entitled “The Horn of Plenty.” Unfortunately, Mr. Berlin hadn’t anticipated winning so the float was disassembled before a photo could be taken!
There was also a street dance held on Railroad Street from 9pm to 1am. There was a Waltz contest with a $5.00 prize.
The Browning Amusement company also came to town to set up a carnival. There were merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl, side shows and concessions from June 6th through June 9th, 1934.
It was a huge success! Over 15,000 people were estimated to come to Kent for the day. Considering Kent had a population of 2,320 in 1930, I would say that is pretty good!
Says the Kent Advertiser Journal on June 14, 1934:
“Bertha, Kent’s Lettuce-picking ape, attracted much attention in the parade. Bertha was a publicity stunt, pure and simple, and her picture was published in scores of newspapers throughout the state. Western Washington papers were unusually liberal and devoted much space to the lettuce festival.”