Aparade of princesses to rival Walt Disney World gathered at Lebanon High School on Saturday in celebration of the 10th annual Princess Character Breakfast.
The event raised approximately $1,000 to benefit the school's Future Business Leaders of America club as they prepare to attend state and national competitions.
"We started with three princesses and a carriage the carpentry students built," FBLA adviser Sherry Buchanan said. "The first time we had 16 kids (in the audience), the second year we had 53 and the most we've had is 576. It's amazing to see that support -- as the kids say, it's magical."
Today, the breakfast has a full roster of Disney princesses played by students from the high school, each representing a different trait from kindness to perseverance reflected in a speech they give to attendees.
Children attending are encouraged to dress up in costumes of their own, and have the opportunity for food, face painting and photos with each character.
"It's great that the community comes out to support us, but it's really about the kids having a fun day," FBLA member Mitchell Ballard said. "We want them to be able to come out, dress up and have a great time over the weekend."
Students, teachers and local businesses all come together each year to make the event possible, and it has become popular within the community. This year's partners included Sweet Bites, Percilla Martin, Gianna Bakery, Purity, Dunkin' Donuts, Big Lots and Walmart.
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"People look forward to seeing the event announcement go out on Facebook, and a lot of the high school girls are interested in helping out as princesses," FBLA adviser Megan Davis said. "I work with the princesses and make sure they're prepared and ready to go, and (Buchanan) goes to local businesses about donations (for costumes). It's a real group effort."
Money raised from the event is used to help FBLA students fly to their state and national competitions, and the goal is to make sure each member can participate no matter their economic background.
"State is really cool because you get to meet people from different parts of Tennessee," Haley Grime, who serves as the state FBLA's Region 5 president, said. "But with nationals, it's really cool how you can see other people's cultures, what they wear and how they present themselves."
At the state and national events, students compete in events from marketing to web design, with the top four in each category at state advancing to nationals.
"It's a great learning experience," Ballard said. "They have conferences that build character skills you can use in business or in college, and they're really focused on volunteer hours."
Lebanon High School's students have built a culture around strong performance in those events, and their ultimate goal this year is to make it to Salt Lake City, Utah for nationals.
"We've set a standard of excellence in our competitive events," Davis said. "Kids come into FBLA each year with the goal of getting to nationals, and we'll have students who place second or third in events that make a point to come back the next year and go for first."