LA CONNER — As another Skagit Valley Tulip Festival draws near, the 2020 Tulip Ambassadors were chosen Wednesday evening.

Immaculate Conception Regional School fifth grader Cadence Natoli and Harriet Rowley Elementary School fourth grader George Windler are the ambassadors for the 37th annual festival.

“I will be a good Tulip Ambassador because I love the area I live in and what it has to offer,” Cadence said after being surprised with the honor.

The annual competition brought more than 50 fourth and fifth graders from throughout the county to La Conner’s Maple Hall for the chance to represent the county in all things tulip, which includes getting to meet Gov. Jay Inslee, participate in the tulip parade and be on the radio.

“I wanted to go places I haven’t been before,” said George.

In order to be named an ambassador, each participant had to tell a panel of judges why he or she wanted to be an ambassador and answer a “mystery” question such as: “Who is your favorite movie character and why?” or “What do you want your career to be and why?”

Without hesitation, Cadence said her favorite movie character was Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies, and then quickly fell into her best impression of the bushy-haired heroine.

Wednesday’s competition for Cadence was a far cry from the previous year, when she froze on stage, said her father, Edd Natoli.

“She was so disappointed last year, I wanted her to do it again this year,” he said.

Between last year and this year, the most important thing she learned was to breathe, Cadence said.

“I learned how to speak in front of people and how not to be nervous,” she said. “I love doing things like this.”

George was full of excitement as he accepted the honor. Unlike most of the other candidates, he knew a little bit about what he was getting himself into — his brother Henry was a 2018 Tulip Ambassador.

“Practice your speech 1,000 times,” Henry said he told his younger brother. “Because practice makes perfect.”

Watching the fun things his brother got to do as a Tulip Ambassador made him want to try as well, George said.

After seeing the effects the Tulip Ambassador program had on Henry, Brad and Renae Windler were excited for their younger son to have the same opportunity.

“His confidence level I think will soar from this,” Brad Windler said.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141,, Twitter: @Kera_SVH,

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