Miss Labor Day returns Aug. 16

By DeeAnna Haney | Aug 14, 2014
Pageant contestants from left to right: Sara Wood, Sidney Farley, Callie Kuykendall, Ashley Nelson, Taylor Rogers, Savannah Blalock, Natasha Bleyl, Christian Wyatt and Sierra Southerland. Not pictured are Ashley Penland, Molly Mann, Ezra Wyatt, Jasmine Dies and Shelby Tomassi.

Canton's popular Miss Labor Day Pageant will return this weekend with 12 Pisgah High School girls competing for the crown and a $2,500 college scholarship.

The seniors have spent their summer practicing for the big event, which will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Colonial Theatre in Canton. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $10 per person.

This year, the girls have been asked to embody a female character from different eras over the years for a creative fashion portion of the pageant called "Ladies of the Decade."

As always, they will also focus on a personal interview with the judges before the pageant, evening gown and on-stage question.

Kate Brown, committee member of the Canton Education Foundation, which hosts the event every year, said it's become an important annual event that the girls always look forward to.

The pageant has become a tradition in Canton, and it's a great learning experience for the girls who choose to participate, Brown said.

"I think it's important because it helps the girls. It teaches them poise and presentation on the stage and it helps them be informed about the era they chose," she said.

Most importantly, the goal of the pageant is to ultimately help the girls with college expenses, that continue to be on the rise. The top three contestants, as chosen by the panel of judges, will receive scholarship money to use toward college expenses. Aside from the $2,500 first-place prize, the first runner-up will receive $1,000 and the third place winner will receive $500.

In addition there will be a Miss Congeniality award in honor of Lura Angel, a Personal Interview award in honor of Barbara Pate and the crown is in memory of Cora Mae Phillips.

Those competing this year include Ashley Nelson, Ashley Penland, Callie Kuykendall, Molly Mann, Sierra Southerland, Shelby Tomassi, Jasmine Dies, Sidney Farley, Savan Wood, Natasha Bleyl, Taylor Rogers, Ezra Wyatt, Christian Wyatt and Savannah Blalock.

There will also be a Little Mr. and Miss Labor Day Pageant, which will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 at Turner Stage in the Canton Recreation Park during the Pigeon River Fest.

Focus on Canton, the volunteer organization sponsoring the Pigeon River Fest, decided to incorporate the pageant into the first-time festival.

"We thought this would be a great time to show off all of Canton's cuties at the River Fest," said Deborah Reed, president of FOCUS.

The contest is open to little girls ages 1 to 8 and boys 1 to 5. Winners will be crowned in each age division and will be invited to ride in the Labor Day Parade held in September in Canton.

The entry fee for the contest in $10 and forms are available at the Canton Town Hall, Polly's Florist and Crawford/Ray Funeral Home.