Issaquah crowns its royalty

While Issaquah may no longer be a small town, it doesn’t mean it’s ready to let go of its small-town traditions.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce named Josh Rehn and Laurie Carlisle the new king and queen of Issaquah.

“I was pretty surprised,” said Rehn. “I’ve never been royalty in my life.”

His claim to the crown turned out to be a bit of a monarchy, as his mother Lynn won the honor in 2002.

She’s now a proud parent of the king, she said.

Carlisle shared similar sentiments, she said. “I’m very humbled and blessed. My mom, if she were here, would be very proud.”

The title comes with a few responsibilities, mainly ribbon cuttings and a display in the Salmon Days Parade.

It affords the opportunity to meet new people and mingle in the community, without the responsibility of an actual political role, said Nathan Perea, the 2010 king.

“We had an incredible year,” said Renee Zimmerman, the 2010 queen.

The chamber began naming royalty in 1990 as a clever way to fundraise. People competed for the title by raising money, said Jackie Roberts, who won the award in 1991.

It turned into quite the popularity contest, she said.

At the time, Issaquah had a queen who would travel to festivals and move on to the Miss America competition. So the chamber called their royalty the king and queen of Sammamish.

When the city incorporated in 1999, they decided to change the title to Issaquah, she said.

The silver and gold salmon-themed capes, which look like large oven mitts, have been a part of the honor for about 15 years. The capes come with crowns formed from two metal salmon.

A committee reviewed a list of applications to choose the winners.

Rehn is the Internet sales manager at Evergreen Ford, and Carlisle is the sales manager of the Hilton Garden Inn.