By Jonathan E. Coleman
With the town’s 4th of July celebrations right around the corner, many local ladies are preparing for the Harrisburg 4th of July pageant.
After last year’s event at Central Cabarrus High School, pageant director Melissa Shoupe decided to bring the event closer to the heart of Harrisburg.
This year’s pageant, weather permitting, will be held on the lawn behind Town Hall. According to Shoupe, the laid-back atmosphere will suit the general nature of the event.
“This is a home-town pageant,” she said. “It doesn’t lead to anything further in the pageant system. You get to represent the community with pride, but without all the hoopla. It’s just a fun pageant.”
Those planning to attend the event and cheer on their favorite contestants are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs, and if they wish, a picnic, to the event, which will take place Saturday, July 2 at 6 p.m.
And this year’s event will allow beauty queens of all ages to compete.
For the first time in the pageant’s four-year history, the event will include a “Mrs. Harrisburg” title, for married women 18 and older.
“There are so many moms that want their daughters to be in a pageant because they couldn’t be in a pageant when they were kids,” Shoupe said. “I’m trying to let them fulfill their dreams of being in a pageant.”
Other age categories include “Baby Miss” for zero to two-year olds, “Tiny Miss” for three to four-year-olds, “Mini Miss” for five to six-year-olds, “Little Miss” for seven to nine-year-olds, “Junior Miss” for 10 to 12-year-olds, “Teen Miss” for 13 to 15-year-olds and “Miss” for 16 and older unmarried contestants.
Contestants will compete in a beauty portion and a patriotic sportswear segment. During the sportswear competition, contestants ages seven and older will be asked an interview question. There is also an optional photogenic category of competition.
A five-judge panel will rate each contestant based on their attire, facial expression/beauty, stage presence, modeling and poise.
“This pageant is great for first-time girls that have never been in a pageant and for girls who have been in pageants all their lives,” Shoupe said. “It’s an equal field. You can wear Sunday best dress. You don’t have to purchase a dress that costs thousands of dollars. We judge the girl and not just the dress.”
Despite the laid-back nature of the event, winning is something special, Shoupe added.
Winners from each age group will receive a crown, sash, trophy and $50 savings bond. The group will participate in the Harrisburg 4th of July parade and be introduced on stage during the festival at Harrisburg Park.
During the year, there are several social opportunities that winners are also encouraged to attend.
Contact Jonathan E. Coleman at [email protected] or 704-789-9105.