2019 Royal Lady article

April 5th, 2019 in General ALFA Articles

Charlotte Ley announced as the 2019 Royal Lady
By Kalie Drago
Echo Reporter

Charlotte Ley, along with her husband, Tom, and two daughters in tow, put roots down in Leavenworth in 2000 – and hasn’t budged since falling for Leavenworth 19 years ago.
Formerly living in Kirkland with two daughters to raise, her youngest teetering on the edge of starting kindergarten, Ley decided to find a better fit to raise her children. She found the perfect landing spot for her family with the help of her friend Robin – Leavenworth, Washington. Thus began her love affair with the Bavarian Village.
“My best friend came over to Leavenworth, found this cute little town and said we have to move here,” said Ley. “I put a bid on the house before my husband even saw it.”
In 2003, she scanned the Leavenworth Echo for opportunities to engage with her new neighbors and immerse herself in her new community – Ley found her niche in the form of Autumn Leaf Festival.
Diving right in, Ley rotated through several positions from secretary, vice president and even a stint as the president for three years. In her three years as president, she had the responsibility of hosting North West Festival Hosting.
North West Hosting is an entity with different cities and a chance for the festival hosting groups to network in order to help each other, toss ideas and solve problems. Every year the North West Hosting gets together in one of the cities and the city puts on a program.
“(One of my favorite Autumn Leaf Festival memories is) when we put on North West Hosting, there was a team building exercise and different groups put together bicycles but were given no instructions,” explained Ley.
The groups ended up donating all the bicycles with a helmet and backpack to children in the community who needed a bike.
“When we were all done putting this together, it was so awesome. They brought these little kids out and they got on their bicycles,” said Ley. “We got to talk to the kids and the parents. The parents just had tears in their eyes, they were so grateful we did that for them.”
Ley has many memories with the Autumn Leaf Festival after many years extending a helping hand. Ley’s long time involvement with Autumn Leaf Festival stems from her passion for Leavenworth.
“I am passionate about Leavenworth because we’re so unique and I love sharing it with anybody that will listen,” said Ley. “So it is really fun when you go to these other festivals and you’re in your dirndl and people will stop, because everyone wants a picture with you. Everyone wants to talk to you about Leavenworth. And everybody has a story about Leavenworth.”
Her Autumn Leaf Festival resume is already loaded, but now Ley can add Royal Lady to that impressive list.
“I really, really was in shock for several days, my head was just spinning,” said Ley. “I think I’d really regret it if I didn’t say yes, because Autumn Leaf is my passion. It’s the only festival that goes all over, promoting Leavenworth.”
After accepting, Ley immediately chose Elisabeth Saunders, former Royal Lady, as her companion.
“The one big thing, is the relationships she (Ley) is looking forward to. You want to connect in relationships with other cities. And we know in this industry of tourism, there’s a new group every four years. 90 percent of the people she will meet will be new people and she has to build a new relationship for Leavenworth,” explained Saunders. “That is really going to be her forte.”
Saunders was a Royal Lady during Ley’s time serving as the president for Autumn Leaf, so it happened to be full circle for the duo.
While the dirndl is fun attire and her fellow Autumn Leaf Festival enthusiasts are good company, she emphasized that her absolute favorite aspect of Autumn Leaf Festival is promoting the city of Leavenworth.
“(I’m looking forward to being Royal Lady) to travel and promote Leavenworth,” said Ley. “Autumn Leaf Festival is the oldest festival and a lot of people don’t know what it is. That was always my biggest thing when I was president, always trying to promote it. Even in our own town as much as outside of town for people to come to Leavenworth. So people here in Leavenworth and the business owners know what Autumn Leaf Festival is doing for them.”