Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beauty Pageants at the Western Kentucky State Fair

Babes, babies, and more

The Western Kentucky State Fair (WKSF) is taking place in Hopkinsville as I type. It began last Friday night (July 2) with the Miss and Mrs. WKSF pageants, and it continues through Saturday night (July 10).

I've never attended the Miss and Mrs. WKSF pageants, but Keely has gone to them several times. Her friend Letha. must attend because of her job (she's a local radio reporter). Keely goes along to keep her company. The two pageants usually take about six hours in total, so it's a long evening that doesn't end until around midnight.

Besides reading the rules for the pageants on the Western Kentucky State Fair website, I interviewed Keely to find out how the pageant is conducted. She's becoming more of an expert on the topic each year.

The  contestants for Mrs. WKSF wear sportswear and formal wear, and the contestants for Miss WKSF wear swimwear and formal wear. Each contestant does an individual promenade in each outfit. The ladies go backstage and change their outfits during an intermission, midway through the program. Then there's another pause while the judges decide who has won.

While each contestant is walking down the runway, the announcer reads a spiel about her hobbies, future plans, etc. (This information is provided by the contestants when they submit their entrance fees.). Each contestant is also asked to speak briefly. The Miss WKSF candidates must introduce themselves, and each Mrs. WKSF candidate must give an answer to a question that she received in advance.

Pageants for younger contestants (infants through young teens) were held during the next several days of the fair. Little boys through age 8 can participate; above that age, the competition is limited to girls.

Pageants like these are fairly common entertainments at fairs and festivals across Kentucky. I've observed that folks are (usually) light-hearted about the beauty pageants. They want to look nice on the stage (or they want their contestants to look nice), but they realize that only one person will win the top prize.

The Western Kentucky State Fair is a regional fair, not just a county fair, so contestants don't have to live in Christian County to enter the pageants. A couple of the ladies in this year's Mrs contest were from Cadiz, and one lady was from Benton. The winner of the Mrs. WKSF pageant, Paula Turner, is from Gracey, a small town in Christian County, west of Hopkinsville.

The winner of the Miss WKSF pageant, Katie Leavell, is from Hopkinsville. According to a Kentucky New Era article about the pageant winners (subscription may be required), Miss Leavell is now eligible to compete in the Miss Kentucky County Fair Pageant in Louisville, early next year.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.