Nan Henriksen insists she’s never been a princess type of gal, but the crowd gathered at the July 12 Camas Days Royal Coronation event to see Henriksen crowned queen of the 2017 Camas Days celebration, clearly see Camas’ former mayor as royalty.
“She was the definition of a trailblazer,” Carol Styles, president of the GFWC Camas-Washougal Women’s Club, said of Henriksen. “She made it easier for the rest of us.”
In her introduction of the 2017 Camas Days Royal Court Queen, Styles noted that Henriksen was not only the city’s first-ever female mayor, but also a major voice in state land-use policy, the force behind the push to diversify Camas’ industry base in the 1980s and the city leaders who helped ensure that future generations would have plenty of local parks and open, green spaces to enjoy.
“Camas is now a thriving community in large part because of your leadership,” Styles told Henriksen. “I think ‘dynamic’ is the word that we’ll think about when we think of you … and you will make a dynamic queen.”
Henriksen accepted her queen’s sash, ribbon, trophy and crown with grace and humor at the Royal Coronation event. After thanking her family, the community and those who have come before her on the Camas Days Royal Court, Henriksen struck a lighter tone and patted her tiara.
“I was worried that it wouldn’t fit my head,” she told the crowd who had gathered inside the Columbia Ridge Senior Living center for the coronation, adding that she’s had trouble finding large-enough hats since she was a Brownie Scout.
The love between this queen and her community was on full display at the July 12 celebration: More than a few people wore their “Nan Fans” pins and well-wishers flocked around Henriksen after her “crowning” to get selfies with the new queen.
Henriksen noted in her acceptance speech that she could never have done the things she’s done if it hadn’t been for community members who, “when (they) see things that need to be done, instead of sitting in front of (their) televisions and not doing anything about it … roll up (their) sleeves and get ‘er done.”
“I am very thankful for the wonderful people I’ve worked with over the years who wanted to make a difference,” Henriksen said. “Nothing ever comes from just one person.”
Other royals also attended the coronation event, including quite a few former Camas Days queens and kings. Virginia Warren, the 1998 queen, sat next to last year’s king and queen, Walt and Pauline Eby, and when local musician Bryan Graves belted out his rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” the entire room, including Queen Nan, swayed and sang along: “Good times never felt so good. I’ve been inclined … to believe they never would.”
If you want to see Henriksen enjoying her new role as queen, watch for her in the Camas Days Grand Parade, which starts at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 22, in downtown Camas. Undoubtedly, the new queen will be living it up on her royal float, waving to her loyal “Nan Fans” and making good times feel good again.