Being a member of the Cherry Blossom court runs in the Krabill family. McLean’s own Elizabeth Krabill represented Virginia in the 2003 Cherry Blossom festival and went on to become Queen for the last year. Her sister Barbara was a princess in the 1999 Cherry Blossom festival and her mother Barbara Krabill represented Ohio back in 1966 as a princess.
Krabill is only the second woman from Virginia to have garnered the honor of Queen. “It has been a tradition for us to be Princess but to be Queen was really something special. To have my own daughter win was unbelievable,” said Barbara Krabill.
“Being selected 2003 Cherry Blossom Queen was one of the most thrilling moments of my life,” Elizabeth Krabill said.
Cherry Blossom Queens are selected by chance. Selection is done by the spin of a wheel, according to Barbara Krabill.
Over the last year Elizabeth has reigned as Cherry Blossom Queen, even traveling to Japan for a two-week trip in which she served as an ambassador for her state and country. “It was an honor to visit Japan as a Goodwill Ambassador,” said Elizabeth Krabill. “I loved learning about the culture and meeting so many engaging people.”
AS A GUEST of the prestigious Japan Cherry Blossom Association, Krabill visited with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, various governors and dignitaries. To each of them she presented a framed drawing that she drew of the Jefferson Memorial surrounded by cherry blossoms. To the Prime Minister she read a letter she carried over from President George Bush.
“I was overwhelmed by the warm hospitality and generosity of everyone I met throughout my stay in Japan,” said Elizabeth Krabill.
Krabill is a junior at Cornell with a double major in economics and government. She says one of her favorite memories of her trip and of her reign was visiting Mikimoto Pearl Island where she watched pearl divers and then selected and opened an oyster to discover a pink pearl inside. When she was selected as Cherry Blossom Queen, Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato placed a priceless Mikimoto pearl crown on her head. She was later presented with a small replica of the crown as well as a Mikimoto pearl necklace.
The Cherry Blossom Festival, which concluded this past weekend, commemorates the planting of the first two cherry blossom trees on March 27, 1912 by First Lady Mrs. William Taft and Vicountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador. Japan gave 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States.