The first-ever Cherry Blossom Festival queen will go to a woman who was one of the founders of the Japanese Sister City Committee in Independence.

The first-ever Cherry Blossom Festival queen will go to a woman who was one of the founders of the Japanese Sister City Committee in Independence.


Carolyn Weeks will receive her crown in a ceremony at this year’s festival at 11:45 a.m. May 6. The entire festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Roger T. Sermon Community Center, and Weeks also will give a talk about the history of the Sister City Committee at 2 p.m. in the second floor classroom.


Weeks’ involvement began in 1977 when she was the executive assistant to then-Independence Mayor Richard King. King, a believer in the power of friendship, had endorsed the sister city relationship with Higashimurayama and then charged Weeks with finding citizens to form a committee.


That committee included World War II veterans, former residents of Japan, students of Japanese culture and others. The sister city relationship began on Jan. 26, 1978, when a six-member delegation from Higashimurayama arrived in Independence to sign the Proclamation of Association.


“It is my belief (that) the Independence/Higashimurayama relationship is microcosm which provides a pattern for global peace,” Weeks said in a news release.