Since 1961

2012 Candidates

Meet the Royal Court Candidates 

These candidates are selling raffle tickets to help us raise money for over 70 non-profit organizations and charities in their quest to royalty. Winners of each category are determined by the candidate that sells the most tickets as well as a public vote. Below are the candidates for Watermelon Princess, Prince, King, and of course… Watermelon Queen. Support their charitable efforts and see the winners crowned on the main entertainment stage by Los Angeles City Councilmember, Richard Alarcón.

The coronation will take place on Friday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 pm.


Michelle Mesta

For Watermelon Queen

Sponsored by VHHS Varsity Cheer Team

I would love to be Queen of the Watermelon Festival. My name is Michelle Mesta and I am a Verdugo Hills High School cheerleader. Becoming the Watermelon Queen and helping my cheer squad at the same time is an amazing opportunity. Last year I participated in the Royal Court as Watermelon Princess and it was a great experience. I enjoyed everything from selling raffle tickets and being on the a float at the 4th of July Foothill parade to seeing how this festival brings family and friends together. I enjoy helping others and I have always been a person to volunteer for community service. I would like to raise money for the VHHS Cheer squad to help with our goal of making it far in Nationals. Going to competitions and Vegas for Nationals can be very expensive. If I can help my squad even by contributing just a little bit of money it will make a huge difference. We have been conditioning hard and making a lot of progress. Cheer is a challenging sport, both mentally and physically. But through it all, we come together as a team; a team I call my family.



Leighann Bisby

For Watermelon Queen

Sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 315

I would like to be watermelon queen to support Boy Scout Troop 315 as best I can. With more funding we can better our community by doing things like trail clearance in the mountains and community events. Personally, I strive to be accomplished and diverse. Becoming Queen would better myself and further help me better my community. Lasty, I would just love to represent my town with our yearly festival that gives us inspiration to have a great summer and stay active in the community.



Jacob Spishak

For Watermelon King

Sponsored by VHHS Varsity Football Team

I am running for King to help the VHHS Varsity Football Team raise some funds for new helmets and pads. I know how important it is to be involved with our Sunland Tujunga community because they do so much to support our high school.



Calista Yakhaman

For Watermelon Princess

Sponsored by Wildlife Learning Center

I am running for Junior Princess to help raise money for the Wildlife Learning Center - I feel that helping wildlife is a great cause because they don’t have a voice of their own to speak. So when people stand up for them, they have voices speaking out on their behalf. I hope that my involvement will help in anyway, big or small, to provide care, shelter, love, and nourishment for these exotic wildlife animals. I enjoy rescuing stray animals and helping them find new homes.

I knew at a very young age that I definitely enjoyed helping people and animals out. At the age of 3, I was affected by the tragedy that hit our country “9/11.” My sister Malina & I set up a fundraiser for the fallen firefighters of New York. We collected close to $300 and took it to the Hollywood Fire Station #27. When I was 4 years old, my sister & I collected 13,000 aluminum can tabs for Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House. Recycling these tabs helped provide a “home away from home” for families of children with serious illnesses who are being treated at nearby hospitals.

In second grade, I was assessed at school and placed in the Gifted Magnet Program, as I possessed advanced gifted mathematical skills. In fifth grade, I received an invitation to join Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Talent Search after scoring in the 95th percentile on a nationally standardized test. At the age of 10, I initiated my school “Sunland Elementary” to start a Teddy Bear Drive for the children in Afghanistan who were war victims and were being treated by the U.S. Army Medics.  Everyone’s involvement in this great service was well received and led to an amazing recognition from Channel 4 News. Click here for the complete story.

In my spare time I have helped tutor neighborhood kids with their school work. I have been a great mentor for them as well. I have donated several of my eyeglasses to Unite for Site that distributes them to needy children all over the world.  Their site is I have volunteered for the annual Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival in 2010 where I served about 400 hotdogs for the Pink’s Hot Dog booth, set up and served chocolates at another booth and helped out all around from the beginning to the very end. In June, I volunteered 8 hours at the 2012 Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival where proceeds went to the Children’s Tumor Foundation (ending Neurofibromatosis through research).

I was just recently involved with the “Heal the Bay” beach clean-up. I was also one of this year’s top sellers at Mt. Gleason MS, selling a total of 400 chocolate bars to help the school out. I enjoy volunteering for my teachers by cleaning up classrooms, grading papers and helping out as a T.A. I have volunteered in preparing care packages for the homeless and have volunteered for the “feed the homeless” program in the valley. Throughout my school years from Kindergarten to Middle School I have collected a portfolio of 100 + academic/citizenship certificates, achievements, awards, ribbons and medals.



Alicia Fisher

For Watermelon Princess

Sponsored by VHHS JV Cheer

I want to be Watermelon Festival Princess because it’s for a good cause and it would just be a fun experience! It would help my squad out with fundraising and make things a lot easier on us! I hope you guys vote for me!



Geoff Woolson

For Watermelon Prince

Sponsored by LA Equestrian

Hi! My name is Geoffrey Woolson and I am being sponsored by The Los Angeles Equestrian Vaulting Club. The Los Angeles Equestrian Vaulting Club is a Non-Profit organization that teaches the sport of Equestrian Vaulting, which is the art of gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse. The club is sponsoring me so that I may become the Watermelon Prince at the 2012 Watermelon Festival! I am running for Watermelon Prince to raise money for Scholarships, new uniforms, new workout gear, and new tack for the clubs horses. Lend me your support by voting for me!



Ryan Kacer

For Watermelon Prince

Sponsored by VHHS Varsity Football Team

Hi my name is Ryan Kacer. I live in the high mountains of Sunland Tujunga. I was born on January 8th, 1996. As of right now I am currently entering my 11th grade year at Verdugo Hills High School. This is my first year running for Prince on the Watermelon Royal Court. I am representing the JV Verdugo Hills High School football team. I jumped on this opportunity to be Prince because I wanted to try something new. My goal is to live life to its fullest while helping others. I want be the best I can be mentally, physically, and emotionally. My plan after high school is to join the Marine Corps Reserve use my GI Bill to attend college. I want to get my Bachelors degree in Criminal Law and attend the police academy to become a LAPD Officer for the Foothill Division. After 6 years as a patrol officer I want to transfer to the SWAT team.



Hannah Schwartz

For Watermelon Princess

Sponsored by Blue Shadows

I would like to be a Princess of the Watermelon Festival because I have gained a number of valuable life lessons such as leadership, service and character. I have acquired experience through various extracurricular activities, including volunteer services, classes and participation in several sports teams. It would be a prestigious honor to be a part of the Watermelon Royal Court. Being nominated to the Royal Court is an honor in itself because it means I have worked hard to stand out amongst my peers.

Nearly two years ago I asked my mother if I could join Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team. I knew little of horses or drill teams but decided I wanted to learn about both. It was intimidating to join a group that was much more experienced than me, but I was welcomed with open arms by my troop and the entire organization. I quickly learned that Blue Shadows is much more than horses and drills; it is a life building experience. I have learned to work hard, never give in or give up, and to continue pushing myself. I shook my lack of confidence and became a contributing member of the team. I have learned the importance of teamwork and what it means individually to be part of a team. I learned respect and patience for people, horses, and my environment.

Blue Shadows has given me the building blocks for life. I may not be the most athletic or talented, but whatever I’m involved in, I do it to the best of my ability. This perseverance and determination to succeed pushes me every day to learn and achieve more. As a result of my determination I am now the proud owner of a rescue horse. I have nurtured my horse from near death to a beautiful and talented animal that I am proud to say is a member of my family.

I want to raise money for Blue Shadows because for over 50 years they have been educating children of all ages about horsemanship, dedication and teamwork. But what does it really mean to give money to support this organization? I can only share my experience with Blue Shadows and tell you what it has meant to me and then ask you to imagine what it has done to the thousands of children who have participated in their activities. So that when you think of what this charity means on a larger scale, you will recognize the impact it has made on the lives of all those it has touched.

I am equally proud to say that since I was 9 years old I have continued to volunteer for my community and have contributed over 100 hours of community service. I have volunteered for Heal the Bay cleaning trash from our coastline. I have also gathered clothes and food for those less fortunate through Children’s Hunger Fund while collecting toys and blankets for Operation Christmas Child. In addition, I have helped raise money and awareness for police officers, firefighters, first-responders and our military who have given their lives to protect ours. More important than the hours I’ve spent volunteering is what I and those involved take away from it. I know that by volunteering I’m helping my community and fellow man. I have learned about the hard work and dedication it takes to making our lives better and improving our community.



Interested in Joining the Royal Court?

If you’re interested in being the next Queen, King, Prince or Princess, click here for more info.