Royal Princess Engagements has the right princess for your next party
Story by Keren Lee Dreyer As a preschool teacher, Linda Ronto of Washington, PA, has plenty of opportunities to interact not only with the children in her daily classes but with their parents as well. However, when one of those parents noticed how lovely Ronto’s (then) 14-year-old daughter, Julianna, was, she asked for a favor - to have Julianna dress like a princess for her preschooler’s birthday party. Ronto found an appropriate dress at Goodwill to “jazz up” using her seamstress skills, and Julianna’s Cinderella was a hit. The following year, another preschool parent asked about Julianna appearing as Rapunzel for her child’s party. “I made the dress and learned about the material, and did a wig, too,” Ronto said. “There, we read a book and sang, but we didn’t have all the activities we do now.” As Julianna’s appearances became popular, sister Jenna Ronto helped both behind the scenes with artwork, and on the scene with face painting. While the mother-daughter business was in this fledgling stage, a friend of the family asked Julianna and best friend, Hannah Meyers, for a visit. “They looked so good and so poised (as Rapunzel and Cinderella, respectively), and that person wrote our first review,” Ronto said, noting that “The person planned all the games and the girls did them. It made us start thinking we could take [on] all the activities and not just be a pretty face.” With these ideas in mind, Linda, Julianna, and Jenna started Royal Princess Engagements, complete with a Facebook page, their own take on popular princesses, hand-made costumes, and entertaining activities appropriate for children. Around that time in 2011, the movie Frozen was getting big, meaning Royal Princess Engagements had an opportunity to add more characters - these in the form of the “Snow Sisters,” who have proven immensely popular. “We’ve done the Snow Sisters, I kid you not, about three hundred times,” Ronto said. “Sometimes, we do it three times in a weekend.” Other popular princesses include Rapunzel, the Mermaid Princess, Island Princess, Arabian Princess, and many more. In the following couple of years, Ronto and Royal Princess Engagements characters traveled to many homes,
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roller rinks, Make-A-Wish visits, and even Kurt Angle’s party at South Park’s ice skating rink. As the business grew, however, Ronto’s dream was “to have a place where we can have a tea party and have it decorated. We got a room in the Freedom Center in Washington. We painted it pink because we were just doing princess parties. But that changed as the public repeatedly made requests for superheroes, so we started adding more and more boy characters.” Royal Princess Engagements has since relocated to 237 South Main Street in Washington. With this new location comes new opportunities, new characters, and greater visibility to the community. Helping hire and train new actors and actresses is Julianna Ronto. “She helps me make major decisions, [holds] the entire interview process, and wrote the handbook on how to train princesses,” Ronto said. The audition process includes singing a song, reading a children’s book and some improv. “The new place is very elegant, with a fireplace, chandeliers, and brick walls. It feels as though you are inside a cas-
tle,” Ronto enthused. “We are also excited to add weekly story times where parents can choose to leave their children in our care and enjoy some quiet time right next door at Chicco Baccello’s quaint coffee shop.” As expected with princess tales, the future looks bright for Royal Princess Engagements. Plans include teas for older girls, craft parties “where you can make a quality craft,” special events for the Whiskey Rebellion, and participation in the Christmas Festival at a nearby pavilion. “What’s cool with the new space is that Washington has a farmer’s market every Thursday during the summer, and I’m planning a meet and greet with the princesses,” Ronto said. For events at the new location, Ronto and company make the occasion easy and affordable while helping with personal, family touches. As she explains, “If someone is having a graduation party, you can bring memorabilia over early and we can set it up ahead of time.” And if a birthday Continued on next page...
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Here are some simple tips that can help you avoid symptoms while still enjoying the great outdoors: Keep windows in your home and car closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from drifting in. The best times to be outdoors are when pollen levels are lowest. Peak pollination occurs for a few hours after sunrise and during the hours after sunset. Enjoy the outdoors on rainy, cloudy and windless days. Pollen is minimized when these weather conditions exist. If gardening, avoid touching your face and especially eyes. Shower after spending time outdoors. Pollen tends to collect in your hair and skin and ends up on your pillow which may worsen symptoms long after your exposure. Use air conditioning to filter pollen from the air in your home. Avoid activities that cause pollen to reenter the air such as lawn mowing or leaf blowing or use a facial mask and goggles if unable to avoid this contact during these activities. Wear a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses to reduce the amount of pollen that blows into your eyes. Apply and rinse your eyes with saline eye drops after being outdoors to wash away pollen. Saline sinus rinses can bring much relief to those with chronic sinus or rhinitis problems by removing pollen from the nasal and sinus passages. Saline sinus rinse products can be purchased at your local pharmacy. Use products as directed. FMI about treating allergy symptoms, ask your pharmacy!
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Pennsylvania Bridges - "Stories We Tell" - May 2019