Approximately 100 people filled the cafeteria at Dearing Elementary School Saturday night to cheer on twelve girls as they competed in the 2007 Miss Dearing Mayfest Pageant. The contestants, ages four to 19 and all Dearing residents, competed in presentation of sportswear, talent, interviews and formal wear.
"It's so hard to choose. They are all so good, I didn't know it would be so hard," said Danielle Moore, who was one of the judges.
It was a first-time experience for each of the three judges - Miss Moore, Liz Crawford and Vicki Sizemore.
"It's a learning experience for all of us," Mrs. Sizemore said. "And it is hard, because none of them did anything wrong at all. And every one of them is beautiful."
Kelsie Marie Hadden, the daughter of James and Belinda Smith was crowned Miss Dearing Mayfest. Candace Nicole Welch and Meghan Alexis Sutton tied for first runner-up.
"I'm so happy, but I think the others did very well, also," Kelsie said.
In the other age categories, Sarah Mackenzie Pereda, the daughter of John and Ann Pereda, was crowned Junior Miss Dearing Mayfest. Virginia "Ginnie" Beasley, the daughter of Chris and Clarice Beasley, was crowned Little Miss Dearing, and Emily Elizabeth Sutton, the daughter of Ray and Tammy Sutton, was crowned Wee Little Miss Mayfest.
"She's been saying all she wanted was a trophy. She was so happy she got the trophy, she didn't even realize they were putting a crown on her head. She didn't know she had won until she came down and we told her," said Tammy Sutton, of her four-year-old daughter, Emily.
Other Wee Little Miss Mayfest winners were: first runner-up, Zenia Nava, second runner-up, Kaylee Ann Sweeney, and third runner-up, Grace O'Neill.
The younger girls, ages four to 12, did not compete in interviews, but did show off their talent, which ranged from singing to dancing and a cheer routine.
Prior to the competition, the older teens, ages 13 to 19, were required to write an essay about challenges facing teens. Their interview questions during the pageant centered on their essay. Kelsie's platform was the way teens dress and adults react to it.
"Teens need to quit wasting time trying to impress others by wearing clothes that show off their whole body," Kelsie said. "And parents need to come talk to us before they just get mad at what we're doing."
The teen talent ranged from tap dancing to praise dancing to singing. Other prizes awarded were: Miss Photogenic and Miss Community Spirit to Candace Welch and Miss Congeniality to Kelsie.
The program also included the singing talents of Tammy Sutton, Harlem High School students James Johnson and Brian Jordan, who both sang songs from "Grease," and dancing by Sara Solesbee, a member of the Harlem High clogging team.
Other participants in the pageant were Kaleigh Beasley, Lanie Chritine Rogers, Kaylee Ann Sweeney and Summer Lynn Webber.
Liz Humphrey organized the pageant and was Mistress of Ceremonies with Lynda Brooks. Vicki Gheesling was the auditor of scores, David Harbeson provided the technical assistance and Brian Cody was photographer. Queensborough Bank and Regions Bank provided savings bonds for the winners. Mrs. Humphrey said Dearing Elementary donated the use of the facility.
"I've lived here all my life, and it's really good to see everybody coming together to do things," said Judy Minor, who had two nieces in the pageant. "It's a good cause, and I think it has been wonderful. After seeing it, I'm motivated to get more involved."