Princess Alyssa Berg

One of the main reasons why Alyssa Berg, of Lacomb, wanted to be a princess on the Strawberry Court was because she enjoys hanging out with kids and meeting people.
And so far, she’s been able to do some of those things, despite COVID.
“I really loved hanging out with the kids at the Boys & Girls Club,” she said. “I just love conversation. I love just talking to people.”
She also enjoyed going to the assisted living homes and talking with the residents there.
Her first encounter with a Strawberry Princess was in 2013, while Berg was in Girl Scouts. It was Princess Miranda Smith, whose mom was Berg’s troop leader.
“She would hang out with us all the time,” said Berg, 18 “She was just so fun. She was so cool. She probably doesn’t realize that she inspired so many girls growing up, but she really inspired me to become (a princess).”
Though COVID has curtailed many of the activities the Strawberry Court would normally do, Berg has still been able to glean a lot of meaningful experiences.
She has built a stronger bond with the other princesses on the court, and has found that everyone on the Strawberry Festival board is “super nice,” she said.
“Every single conversation I’ve had with anyone since meeting them as a Strawberry Princess has meant so much to me. I really value in-person friendship,” Berg said.
When she’s not princessing around or going to school, Berg stays busy with her favorite activities, which include dancing, videography and running her jewelry business.
It was her uncle who influenced her to start making jewelry. Berg would watch him create designs, and would go to trade shows with him. She started designing her own jewelry, and eventually started her own business, Aquila Pacific.
She creates a “summer-y” feel with her necklaces and anklets by using shells and wooden beads, but also uses seed beads and pendants for other styles.
“It’s a jewelry that suits you and suits your style,” she said. “I know people who buy my jewelry, who I’ve known for a while, and I can always tell how it suits their aesthetic.”
Since grade school, Berg has been creating videos. She started with her webcam, and bought her first video camera after working on a blueberry farm when she was about 12 years old.
Later, her parents bought her a better camera, which she found was best suited for taking photographs. So with it, she practiced making stop motion films. More recently, Berg and her sister have purchased a Canon M100, which they both use to make videos.
After Berg made a documentary about her state dance team during her sophomore year, she began to realize videography was the career path she wanted to take.
“The reaction I got from the families after documenting our weekend was really amazing and very emotional,” she said. “I had grandparents and parents coming to me telling me that they were crying and how emotional it was to see the dancers talk about the team and how fun the weekend was and how amazing the performance environment was.”
Dance is probably Berg’s most favorite hobby, though. She dances with a studio crew at Haven’s Urban Movement, and is captain of the high school’s Explosion dance team.
Berg is thinking about combining her two passions, dance and video, and has been talking to the owner of the dance studio about how she could do that.
Other interests include fishing, playing guitar, being around her farm animals, and maybe doing a little juggling, too, which she learned from her parents.
Clearly Berg likes to stay busy, but the pandemic this past year and a half has taught her about what’s most important in life: growing in faith and spending more time with family.
“When we were able to pull back and hang out a little bit, watch a movie together, have more family dinners, I really cherish those moments,” she said. “I’ve learned it’s about really taking that time and appreciating it more; I took that for granted before COVID, for sure.”
And it’s her family who’s been her biggest inspiration during her life. Her parents, John and Inn Berg, are her biggest role models, but she also finds the same is true of her uncle John and aunt Minda.
“They’re not, technically, I guess, blood-related, but they’re like family to me,” she said. “I’ve kind of felt like their place is another home. They’ve been there for every aspect of my life; all the struggles, all the activities I’ve tried throughout my life, and encouraging me to do different things.”
It’s also family that inspires her bucket list.
Berg wants to visit Germany someday, where her father’s parents are from, and she’d also like to spend time in the Philippines, where her mother is from. Ideally, she’d live in the Philippines for at least six months to spend time with family, and also check out the dance industry in that country, which is “huge” there, she said.
And if it were feasible, Berg thinks it would be “cool” if the Strawberry Court could visit another community where strawberry production was important like it is for Lebanon.
“Like, going to a strawberry farm with the girls, going on a really big trip like that where we all got to bond and stay together for a couple nights,” she said. “Maybe in another country even; that would be wild. Just hanging out and going to strawberry fields.”
Keeping the Strawberry Festival tradition alive is important to Berg because she realizes it holds the history of the city together.
“We always talk about how it’s so cool how this tiny little town in Oregon has this, like, century-long tradition,” she said. “A tradition that long is amazing, and I just applaud the townsfolk of Lebanon for holding onto that. Just the history behind it is so cool.”
The parade is her favorite part of the festival. Berg has been in the parade several times, but she also likes seeing the princesses and all the floats.
If she could suggest a theme for a future festival, it would be to do a Strawberry Festival flashback.
“It would actually be cool to turn back time and do a little rewind in the Strawberry Festival and recreate older Strawberry Festival traditions,” she said. “Like a ‘back-in-time festival’ where you would pull out those traditions and wear those clothes.”
For Berg, her church family at St. Edward’s Catholic Church, and the small-town community are what’s best about Lebanon.
“The fact that they have something like the Strawberry Festival, that’s been on for so long, that’s just such a cool tradition to be a part of,” Berg said. “(It’s) something I never would have thought of (doing) until I actually met a Strawberry Princess in grade school.”