Meet the Court: Princess Alyssa Baker

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

The 114th Strawberry Festival, themed “Peace, Love and Strawberries,” arrives as the world recovers from the effects of a pandemic. Finding peace and showing love may be some of the most valuable traits a princess could possess this year.

To find peace, Princess Alyssa Baker likes to work with her fair animals or spend time alone. For others to find peace in the world, she believes kindness is the answer. That can be achieved, she said, by watching one’s words and considering how others may feel.
“Always choose to have a smile; you never know how somebody’s day is going,” she said. “Just always being kind to others, even if you don’t think that’s what they deserve.”
She shows love through gifts but feels loved, herself, when someone does something specifically for her, whether with gifts, acts of service, quality time or words of affirmation.
After graduating, Baker plans to pursue a doctorate of veterinary medicine through a dual enrollment at Linn-Benton Community College and Oregon State University to become a large animal veterinarian.
The Lebanon High School student has been busy playing golf and volleyball, participating in Lebanon’s Future Farmers of America chapter where she served as a sentinel on its officer team, and volunteering at Sapphire Health Services in Sweet Home to help residents with traumatic brain injuries.
The 18-year-old also works at the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam, Ma’s Restaurant, and the Lebanon School District as barn manager and feeder.
So how does she find time to be on the Strawberry Court? She doesn’t, really, she said, “but I love it, so I make time to do it.”
As a child, Baker was inspired by the court princesses who would visit her elementary school, but she personally knew the ones on the 2022 court, all of whom spoke highly of the experience.
“Since I had the opportunity to put a smile on somebody’s face, I knew I wanted to do that and I knew I wanted to help the little kids,” she said.
“I also love helping with all the community things. We meet so many people in the community and see things behind the scenes that not everyone sees. I love that about our little town.”
Her favorite part about being on the court is the opportunity to visit retirement homes and attend parades throughout the state.
It’s important to keep Strawberry Festival traditions alive, she said, because it sustains the city’s original roots.
“This has been going on for so long,” Baker said. “Keeping what happened to Lebanon and the history of Lebanon the same is very important so people understand where we are from, where we live and what we do.”
Her family includes parents Angie Bingham and Darren Baker, and one sister.
The dark-haired brunette looks to her own mother for inspiration.
“She is always caring for everyone,” she said. “She’s always there for literally anyone and never says ‘no’ to helping anyone. She just is the best person ever.”
Aunt Elizabeth Nelson, who helped raise her, also serves as a role model.
“She is just like my mom, but she does it in a more subtle way,” she said. “My aunt does not care if people know she does things or not. She will just always do it.”
And now Baker sees Lebanon’s businesses and organizations stepping up to make the community something special.
“You don’t understand how many different people from our community want to help and work together to create goals that the whole community has,” she said. “Everybody that is involved in the community truly wants to be involved in it, and I just love that about Lebanon.”