First Posted: 1/15/2009
FAIRMONT -- No queen will reign on this month's Fairmont Farmers Festival parade.
Organizers canceled the festival's annual Miss Fairmont and Little Miss Fairmont pageants after failing to attract enough entries.
The festival attracts more than 15,000 people to Fairmont and includes a parade, arts and crafts and a car show, all on Saturday, Oct. 19. Both pageant winners are typically featured in the event's parade down Main Street.
“It just seems a shame,” said Janice Faulk, pageant coordinator. “This has been a staple for all of the festival's 15 years. But there just is not enough interest to put the pageant on this year.”
Faulk said only three young women had signed up for the Miss Fairmont Festival Pageant. She said four younger girls had signed up for the Little Miss pageant. The minimum requirement for each pageant is five contestants. The pageant is sponsored by the Contemporary Woman's Club of Fairmont.
Jenny Larson, who is helping organize the festival, said the entry deadline for the pageant was extended a week, to Sept. 20, in an effort to lure more contestants.
“The extension didn't help,” Larson said. “So it looks like we will be without the pageant this year. We will have everything else associated with the festival. There will be the parade, great food and all kinds of entertainment. There just won't any festival queens.”
As a member of the Contemporary Woman's Club, Faulk has helped organize the pageant for the last 12 years. She said she is surprised by the lack of interest this year.
“This has been a big deal for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Last year, we had nine contestants in the Miss Farmers' Festival and seven participate in the younger pageant. I don't understand it.”
Charles Kemp, who served as master of ceremonies at last year's pageant, said he would have thought that more young women would have been interested in the $1,000 scholarship offered by the pageant. The first runner-up gets a $500 scholarship. The winner of the Little Miss pageant will receive a $250 savings bond.
“The event, which many might consider to be a beauty pageant, actually is a scholarship opportunity for the contestants,” Kemp said. “It provides one lucky young lady the opportunity to both better herself academically and represent our fine community at events during her yearly reign.”
For information about the festival, call Mickey Williamson or Larson at 628-9766.