Strawberry Festival: Meet Princess Maddie Norris

Maddie Norris wants to major in animal science.

She’s not sure if she wants to be a veterinarian, but she knows she would like to work with large animals.

She has participated in Future Farmers of America for three years and keeps animals at Lebanon High School’s Land Lab.

“I’ve kept animals and sold them at the county fair,” Norris said.

She kept lambs during her freshman and sophomore years. Her junior year, she raised two lambs and a pig.

“This year I’m doing a pig and showing a cow-calf pair with my friends,” Norris said.

Pigs are some of her favorites.

“They don’t smell the best, but they’re really smart, kind of like a dog,” Norris said. “They are just like a dog. If you spend enough time with them, then they’ll follow you around. Believe it or not, they run around like dogs. They almost bark. They’re so funny they crack me up.”

Norris is starting her college education at Linn-Benton Community College, where she signed to play volleyball. She plans to transfer to Oregon State University.

Norris, 18, is the daughter of Kim and Monty Norris. She grew up in Lebanon and the Strawberry Festival has been a part of her life.

She knows a lot of girls who have been on the Court.

“I’ve played sports with them, done clubs, that type of thing,” she said. “I sat in that crowd and I looked up to them and every single time we saw them at school or whatever, it was just the coolest thing. So I think it would be really cool to be an inspiration.”

Norris enjoys being that inspiration for younger students on Strawberry Court visits.

“It’s been awesome,” she said. “They get so excited. So many of them, they get giddy, jumping up and down.”

She said she feels honored by that reaction.

Norris and the other princesses field a variety of questions from grade-schoolers, including inquiries into whether or not they have princes and if they live in castles.

“Well, we’re honest; we tell them, ‘No, we don’t live in a castle,’” she said.

Norris said she enjoyed the Newport Loyalty Days and Sea Fair Festival. The court also has parade appearances scheduled in Florence and Scio, in addition to local events.

“It’s busy, but it’s worth it,” Norris said. “You get to meet a lot of people.”

They may be able to take some time to enjoy the carnival portion of Florence’s festival.

One of her favorite parts of the Strawberry Festival is the carnival, particularly the rides.

“I just remember, I’d always go with my friends and that would be something that kind of brought us closer,” she said.

Her favorite ride used to be the Gravitron.

“Oh! There’s a memory,” she said. “My cousin Conner (Norris) –he’s going to kill me for telling this – I remember he showed me that ride the first time and I was like ‘Oh yeah, this is really cool.’”

After each time on the ride, she asked to go again.

“Every single time,” Norris said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, OK.’ Well, he started to get sick and I just kept pushing him and we just kept going on this ride. Spinning and spinning and he got sick at the carnival. He left and I stayed there – got back on that ride.”

Norris said she appreciates the camping theme of this year’s festival.

“I’m a big camper,” she said. “Last year we went to Twin Lakes over by Bend and that was really really fun. We had a campsite and we could walk down to the water.”

Norris’ ideal camping spot is one that is not crowded.

“I really like over in Bend, a place with a beach to walk on,” she said. “A lot of places have hiking, I really like hiking too and exploring.”

Norris may not get a chance to slow down after her princess duties are over.

“I have to get ready for next year, volleyball,” Norris said. “I report Aug. 1. I’ve got to get in shape.”

To do that, she might play some sand volleyball.

“I do doubles, usually,” Norris said. “I find a partner and we just go and play. (It’s) just kind of a fun thing on the side.”