Mini-queen pageant set for Saturday

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
That’s the approach being taken with this year’s Fun in the Sun mini-queen pageant—an annual contest that’s been a fixture here for more than three decades.
“It’s going to be the same as it’s been [in the past],” said pageant organizer Gloria Wood, whose company, Wood Sewing Centre, has sponsored the event since the very beginning.
One thing that’s certain to be different this year is the result. Last June, Gabriella Peters and Talyssa Rae Kellar split the mini-queen honours.
“We had something very unique last year—we had two mini-queens,” Wood said.
“It cost me twice as much last year,” she laughed.
The 2005 mini-queen will be crowned this Saturday (June 25) in conjunction with Scott Street’s 100th birthday celebrations. The pageant is slated to get underway at 11 a.m.
Each contestant will be called onto the stage, where they will be interviewed by Wood and evaluated by a trio of judges—2004 FITS queen Alyssa Bruyere, runner-up Shana Morrison, and the mother of a former mini-queen winner.
The judges will award each girl a score (out of 10) for poise, personality, and grooming.
The winner will come away with a stash of prizes—usually a large stuffed animal, a locket celebrating their accomplishment, plus the right to where the tiara for a year.
The mini-queen also will get the chance to ride with the 2004 winners in the Canada Day parade next Friday (July 1).
But win or lose, every contestant will be rewarded for taking part in the mini-queen pageant, which is open to girls aged four-seven.
“Each contestant gets a prize,” Wood said. “Everybody goes home with something.”
Wood hopes the participants also will come away from the pageant with boosted confidence and refined interpersonal skills.
“It’s just a fun thing and it’s something that gives them a little more confidence going up in front of a bunch of people, and being able to get up and talk to someone and not be shy,” she noted.
Brenda Kellar, mother of reigning co-mini queen Talyssa Rae, said she entered her daughter for exactly those reasons.
“I just thought it would be great public relations for her, getting her out amongst people and getting her used to being in front of a crowd,” Kellar said.
The result?
Kellar said her daughter, who turns six in August, seemed to gain confidence almost immediately—even before she returned to the stage for the crowning.
“She loved it, she loved the attention,” Kellar added, noting her daughter’s pride in her accomplishment has been especially noticeable since she was invited to ride in the Santa Claus parade in November.
She’s not looking forward to giving up her crown,” Kellar laughed.
A testament to the success of the pageant, a number of past mini-queens also have gone on to participate in the FITS queen pageant as teenagers, Wood noted.
And if she has her way, Talyssa Rae Kellar will be no exception. “She’s already asking when she can do it,” her mom said.
All contestants in the mini-queen pageant must pre-register, with the deadline being this Friday (June 24) at 3 p.m.
Those interested can contact Wood (274-3146) or the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce (274-5773) for more details.