The beautiful in Dearing and America the Beautiful were celebrated Saturday night at the third annual Mayfest Pageant. The stage was decked out in red, white and blue, the special music was patriotic and many of the contestants' talent presentations had a patriotic theme.
Even the essay and interview question for the older contestants asked what patriotism meant to them.
"When I think of patriotism, I think of my own town of Dearing," Meghan Sutton said. "What makes Dearing special is we all help each other."
And her town shared the love, as Meghan was crowned Miss Mayfest 2008 for the 13-19 year old category. Candace Nicole Welch was first runner up and Hanna Michelle Fisher and Ashley Ann Frankenfield tied for second runner up.
Held at Dearing Elementary School, the pageant was larger across the board this year, with 19 contestants and approximately 150 in the audience. Organizer Liz Humphrey said she estimates the pageant made $1,000, although a final count was not established at press time.
"We already made $700, and that doesn't include concessions, which sold out," Ms. Humphrey said. "Overall, it was very good participation."
All proceeds of the pageant go to the Dearing Mayfest, which benefits the renovation of the old Dearing Elementary School gym. All pageant contestants will be featured in the Mayfest Parade on Saturday, May 3. Other winners in each category were:
Ages 4-6 years old - Wee Little Miss Mayfest Anna Marie Bryant, first runner up Natalie Marie Peebles and second runner up Amber Elizabeth Hawkins and Sarah Ann Newsome, and Wee Little Master Cody Austin Tyler.
Ages 7-9 years old - Little Miss Mayfest Carmen Zenia Nava, first runner up Kyla Nicole Annis, second runner up Grace Katherine O'Neill and Little Master Mayfest Mark Preston Beckum.
Ages 10-12 - Junior Miss Mayfest Kie'Seonna Harris
Judges were Meagan Barnett, Cheryl Dawon and Angel Kamara, with Gina Cody as their assistant, the auditor was Vickie Gheesling, pageant coordinator was Liz Humphrey, sound technician was David Harbeson and photography was by A&B Photography.
Ms. Humphrey expressed special thanks to Richard's Florist for donating all the flowers, Axon's Mini Mart for donating the concession items and Dearing Elementary School for providing the facility.