The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 20, 2014

Pageants to be held Saturday through Tuesday at FSU’s Falcon Center: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — The Miss West Virginia Organization is holding its Miss West Virginia and Miss West Virginia’s Outstanding Teen pageants this Saturday through Tuesday at Fairmont State University’s Falcon Center.

The organization is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

The contestants have been rehearsing since Tuesday and Wednesday this week. 20 Miss contestants and 20 Teen contestants will be competing in the preliminary pageants from Saturday-Monday at 8:15 p.m. each night. The final will be held Tuesday, also at 8:15 p.m.

The Miss West Virginia Organization is an official preliminary to the Miss America Scholarship program, and the winner will go on to compete in Atlantic City this September. The program is for women aged 17-24.

The Miss West Virginia’s Outstanding Teen will continue on to Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. The contestants are between ages 13-17.

“The girls really represent every facet of West Virginia,” Sonja Wilson, Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization board of directors member, said.

In the past, the pageant has been held in Clarksburg, Shinnston, Morgantown and at The Greenbrier. This is the first year it has been held in Fairmont.

“It’s nice to branch out into the Fairmont area,” Wilson said.

Because it is primarily a scholarship organization, Wilson said, the focus is on the contestant’s platforms.

“They have a cause they feel passionate about,” Wilson said.

Candy Reid, executive producer for the pageant, agreed.

“They all have an issue or an organization that they’ve aligned themselves with to better their communities,” Reid said. “Whoever wins will take it to the state level.”

Reid said that contestant platforms have included cancer awareness, mentoring children, and working with the American Heart Association and Boys and Girls Club.

Reid explained that service is even a symbolic part of the crowns the winners receive.

“There are four points to the crowns,” Reid said. “The four points stand for style, scholarship, service and success.”

Style comes in with the traditional pageant competitions, such as evening gown and swim suit.

“Style is certainly a part of who these young women are,” Reid said.

“And we certainly hope that this program puts them on the path to success, because through it they get scholarship money, and they develop communication skills,” Reid said.

Scholarships are a big part of the competition and are given out to more than just the overall winner. There are scholarship awards for talent, scholastic achievement and community service.

“There are many opportunities — you don’t have to win. It’s not a winner-takes-all. There are many who benefit,” Reid said.

For the 70th anniversary, organizers have invited past Miss West Virginia winners to come back, and around 15 of them are planning on returning from as far away as Georgia.

Reid said that the former winners will be incorporated into the show, which will have modern flair.

“We want the show to reflect the young women of today, so you’re not going to come here and see an old-fashioned review,” Reid said. “You’re going to see the music that young women today listen to. You’re going to see them dressed like young women dress. We have always tried to keep the program real.”

One aspect of that commitment can be found in the pageant outfits themselves.

“We actually gave them fabric at orientation, and said we need you to make an outfit for this number. We’d like for it to be in this kind of style. Go make your own,” Reid said. “We give them the fabric, so it’s still costumed and there’s still continuity, but everybody looks different. And that’s to me what makes our show successful. We let them be individuals.”

Tickets will be available at the door and cost $40 for Saturday, Sunday or Monday and $50 for the final night. Credit cards will not be accepted. All guests must be seated by 7:30 p.m.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.

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