MT Standard: Butte native represents Montana as princess in D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival

Jamie Jo Lynch, formerly of Butte, recently was selected by the Montana State Society to represent Montana in the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.

Lynch, the daughter of Jim Lynch and Lauren Kippen, was born and reared in Butte and graduated from Butte High. She graduated in May 2016 from Boise State University, where she studied Environmental Science and Political Science with Sustainability.

She lives in Washington, D.C., where she works for U.S. Sen. Jon Tester as executive assistant to the chief of staff and legislative director. When home in Montana she likes to be outdoors running or fly fishing on the Big Hole River, she said.

The Montana State Society consists of Montanans living in D.C. It hosts events throughout the year, including the Cat-Griz Watch Party.

The Washington Post described the Cherry Blossom Princess program this way:

Every year, up to 55 princesses — each representing a state, a U.S. territory or D.C. — are selected on the basis of written applications that show off their leadership abilities, volunteer work and passion for the places they represent. (There are also a few international princesses chosen by embassies and international organizations.) They are then feted at a week’s worth of parties that culminate in the Cherry Blossom Grand Ball, where one woman wins the title of Cherry Blossom Queen via a spin of the so-called “wheel of fortune.” Her majesty receives a Mikimoto pearl necklace and then goes on a free, 10-day trip to Japan, where she makes public appearances with Japan’s Cherry Blossom Queen.”

Lynch described the festival in an email to The Montana Standard:

”The Cherry Blossom Festival occurs every spring in Washington, D.C. to honor the U.S.’s relationship with Japan. The festival celebrates the gift of the cherry blossom trees that were given to the nation’s capital from Japan as a sign of peace post World War II.”

Lynch was crowned princess in the Mansfield room in the Capitol. At the crowning a minister from the embassy of Japan spoke and she gave a brief speech. The room was filled with other embassy staffers, Montanans that live in D.C., and the Montana delegation, Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Steve Daines.

“It was incredible having our delegation and my boss, Senator Tester, at the event to celebrate my week ahead representing the Big Sky State. Montana is one of the only states that puts on a crowning ceremony for their princess so I was very honored to have this thrown for me. Montana also stands out throughout the week because of Senator Mansfield, former Majority leader and longest serving ambassador to Japan. All the embassy staffers couldn’t praise Senator Mansfield enough and were delighted Montana had a princess to represent our unique state.”

The week wrapped up April 7 with the grand ball. This year the wheel landed on South Dakota. To end the festival the princesses rode on a float in the National Cherry Blossom Parade April 8 down Constitution Avenue — one of D.C.’s largest parades.

Sen. Tester said:

“I am incredibly proud that Butte’s very own Jamie Lynch was chosen as this year’s Montana Cherry Blossom Princess. Every day she works long hours serving the people of Montana in the United States Senate, and I can’t think of a better representative for this year’s festival.”