Sunday is a pageant day in Waynesburg.
Beginning at 4 p.m. at the Jefferson-Morgan High School auditorium, five Greene County girls ages 15, 16 and 17 will model sportswear and evening gowns and dance and sing their hearts out, all hoping after several grueling hours of pageantry to wear the Miss Rain Day crown.
I have never been to the Rain Day Pageant, nor have I been to the Riverfest Pageant, Coal Show Pageant or Miss Greene County Pageant.
And I think I know why. I don’t know how many jazz, acro jazz or tap dances I could endure. But that doesn’t mean the talents of these young ladies should not be applauded.
This is a county rich in pageants and dance schools, and if you have them, why not flaunt them?
Miss Rain Day touts itself as a scholarship pageant, which means the five contestants will compete not only for the crown and glory that goes with it, but for something just as valuable – money in the form of bonds. And everyone wins something because all contestants receive “participation awards” of $200.
The winner receives $1,000 guaranteed, along with a trophy, crown, banner and flowers. Even the runners-up collect a savings bond.
There are monetary awards given out to the winners in at least four judged categories, as well as essay writing. Theoretically, a contestant who finishes second or third in the voting could walk away with more money than the contestant crowned Miss Rain Day.
Well, maybe not. I would expect if contestant A is named winner of sportswear, talent, personality and is voted most photogenic, she most likely would be the queen. At least I would think so, but, remember, I have never been to a pageant.
Rain Day organizers have been selecting a Miss Rain Day since 1979, based on the most recent statistics at hand. That means whoever wins today will become the 36th young lady to wear the crown and banner.
And she will follow in some famous footsteps: Among the titleholders are Autumn Marisa in 1997 and Kristin Szarell in 1998, both of whom went on to compete in major pageants.
Szarell won the title of second runner-up in the Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship Pageant, and Marisa won the pageant in 2002 and competed in the Miss America Pageant.
All of these girls, not just those competing today, but those wanting to be Miss Jacktown Fair, Miss Greene County Fair as well as those mentioned earlier, should be proud for keeping tradition alive.
What would a summer in Greene County be without pageants?
Why, it’s as American as rain on July 29.
Jon Stevens is Greene County bureau chief. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.