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Eight in race for Blossom crown

By BARBARA MANNING GRIMM
November 23, 2011 · 1:54 PM
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Eight young women are hoping to be chosen as Summerland’s next royalty. Three of the candidates, who are all sponsored by various service clubs and businesses, will be crowned at the annual Blossom Pageant in May.

Between now and then, they will be learning a variety of skills including public speaking, as well as volunteering in the community. They will be judged on a variety of criteria including their talent, speeches, volunteer work, a half-hour interview with the judges and a written test about Summerland.

In the running are Sacha Perry Fagant, Miss Action Fest; Michaella Haidenger, Miss Rotary; Lindsey Jenner, Miss Kiwanis Club; Cassidy Clements, Miss Summerland Legion; Alexa Brickenden, Miss Summerland Skating Club; Apinder Saran, Miss Penny Lane; Susan Watkins, Miss Zia’s Restaurant; and Adrianna McMillen, Miss SIS Exteriors.

The candidates will be meeting weekly to learn about a variety of topics including car care and financial planning. They will also volunteer at the local thrift shop and deliver Meals on Wheels.

The candidates’ first public appearance will be March 4 at the annual Blossom Tea and Fashion Show. The location for this event will be announced later. The candidates will speak about their sponsoring organizations.

The Blossom Pageant will take place May 4 and 5 at Centre Stage Theatre. The talent and speech competition will be the first night. The second night will feature the evening gown competition, impromptu questions and the crowning of the queen and two princesses.

The new royal representatives will spend the next year promoting Summerland as they travel throughout BC and attend festivals, parades and pageants. Royalty chairman Karen Hooper says they are invited to more events than they can attend. The travel expenses are paid for by ticket sales for the Blossom Tea and Fashion Show and the Blossom Pageant.

These events also pay for the seven or eight bursaries handed out each year to royalty candidates for achievements in categories such as volunteering, talent and knowledge of Summerland.

Royalty and candidates are kept busy throughout the year as hostesses and helpers at various community events such as the Summerland picnic, Giant’s Head Run and Agur Lake Camp Day.

In her fifth year on Summerland’s royalty committee, Hooper works with Leanne Sieben in organizing the pageant and appearances.

Hooper says the purpose of the competition and training is to give the girls confidence, speaking experience and interview skills they can use for future educational and employment opportunities.

The first Miss Summerland, Joan (Nisbet) Downing, was crowned in 1946. In 1984, Summerland Queen Cynthia Kereluk was crowned Miss Canada, while Nicole Dunsdon followed in her footsteps eight years later to receive this honour in 1992. This was also the last year that the Miss Canada Pageant was held.