Meet the Court: Princess Chloe Juntunen

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.

Princess Chloe Juntunen loves animals, so it makes sense to hear she finds peace by spending time with hers.
As for everyone else, she offers the following advice: remember that no one is perfect.
“Show love and extend grace,” she said. “Know that other people make mistakes, and strive to learn from your mistakes and grow as a person.”
Juntunen shows love through letters or acts of service. She feels loved when others do the latter and when her family – which includes parents Stacy and stepfather Calvin Looney, father Ryan Juntunen, and a brother – spends time with her.
As the 18-year-old closes out her senior year at Lebanon High School, she looks forward to continuing her education through Linn-Benton Community College’s College Now program to pursue a degree in nursing.
When Juntunen moved to Lacomb in the fifth grade, a visit from that year’s princess court made her feel more connected to her new community, she said. She agreed it’s important to keep traditions like the Strawberry Festival alive.
“I think it makes a community strong,” she said, “and the festival especially is something that brings everyone together.”
The princess has already experienced an “overwhelming amount” of support from clubs, businesses and people who want to empower the girls on the strawberry court.
“The community we have is tightly strung together and we really, really care for one another,” she said. “I think Lebanon does a great job of helping one another, making sure everyone is doing okay.”
Although Juntunen finds support in many people and businesses, she said her mother, Stacy, and horse trainer Jenny Freeborn are her biggest role models.
“My mom is a very, very hard-working person, and always pushes me to be the best version of myself and the best person I can be to other people, which I think is really important,” she said. “[Freeborn] always gives me wisdom that is Christ-centered, which is very important to me.
“While she helps me a lot with my equestrian skills, she also expands my knowledge and helps me to round my own character and work on myself.”
She also looks to her father, Ray, who supports her in her activities, and her stepfather, Calvin, as role models.
“My stepfather is extremely selfless,” Juntunen said. “If I could be just an ounce of as selfless as he is, that would be great.”
Jesus Christ serves as an inspirational central figure, as well.
“I try my best to love people, which is kind of a big word, but I believe that showing love to everyone and grace to everyone is extremely important,” she said. “Being able to serve as a servant leader is very important in today’s society, especially when you are representing a large group of people.”
The brunette has been an ambassador for the Linn County 4-H, a president for the Lebanon Future Farmers of America chapter, reporter for the Upper Willamette District, a team captain for the Lebanon High School Equestrian Team, and a barn manager at Oakhill Farms. She enjoys traveling, hiking, riding horses and working with livestock by showing meat and dairy goats, sheep and swine.
Now, as a Strawberry Princess, Juntunen sees herself as an ambassador for Lebanon.
“Being a princess, you are constantly representing something that is bigger than yourself, and being able to serve people and build connections with others is very important,” she said.
“I love being able to form connections with all demographics of my community and being able to honor the legacy that we’re a part of.”