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She’s waited a year to celebrate the event, and she’s ready to ride in the parade.

Longtime Roslyn resident Rose Badda is this year’s Pioneer Queen, and she will mark the occasion with a trip down First Street in Cle Elum Saturday during the annual Pioneer Days Parade. Badda was originally supposed to be 2020’s Pioneer Queen, but the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of last year’s event.

Badda, who is 91, said she was asked years ago to assume the honors, but she initially turned it down. After her husband suffered a stroke, she said the demands of taking care of his needs as well as working at Twin City Foods got in the way of considering participating in the event. Eventually, family members pushed again for her to take the honor and ride in the parade.

“I said no, I don’t think so,” she said with a chuckle. “I’m too old.”

The family kept asking, and finally last year Rose said she would ride in the parade.

“I think my daughter talked me into it,” she said. “I’m a little nervous!”

A LONGTIME RESIDENT

Badda grew up in Seattle and moved to Roslyn in 1950 to marry her husband, Bob, whose family is steeped in the coal mining history of Roslyn. Rose said Bob worked in the mines himself for 17 years.

“He kept coming over and telling me we’ve got to get married,” she said. “I told him I didn’t want to get married yet because I was a young kid. I was 19 when we got married.”

After searching for a house, a task Badda said was a challenge, they finally found a home to settle down in, and she still lives in that home to this day. She said she misses the old days of Roslyn when the community was built on working-class families.

“I don’t like the way it is now,” she said. “There’s people all over, and there are strangers coming from Seattle way. It was quiet and nice when I moved here. I got to know a lot of people. It was mostly loggers and coal miners. Time has changed everything. Everything is totally different now, people aren’t friendly like they used to be, I don’t think. I wish it would have stayed that way.”

Rose and Bob eventually had one son and three daughters, with daughter Carolyn Bednar still living in the area. Bednar said although Rose didn’t want to participate at first, she said she thinks she has embraced the event and is beginning to enjoy the festivities.

“It was so nice to see her having fun at the coronation the other night,” she said. “It went well, and a lot of our family was there. She was able to have her grandkids and great-grandkids there, so it was really nice.”

Bednar said it is an honor to be able to trace her family roots back to the early days of Roslyn, saying her family attends the Croatian picnic every year.

“It’s nice to be able to know the original people that were around,” she said. “How nice they were and how they would welcome you in. Neighbors would talk and all of that. Nowadays, you don’t even know your neighbors much anymore, so it was nice to be a part of that generation that wanted to do that and wanted to stay connected with their roots.”

Although Badda is looking forward to Saturday’s parade, she said she hopes the weather will offer her and the other participants a break.

“It’s so damn hot out there,” she said.

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