On Sunday, March 5, the 12 recently picked River Days candidates met with the pageant and queen’s festival chairperson, Lori Lowe to begin their journey as contestants for this year’s River Days pageant.
Sunday’s event was the opening meeting to begin the pageant process for the 12 contestants. It is also a time when the theme for the parade and pageant for the festival is revealed. This year’s theme is River Days and Storybook endings. Each of the 12 girls will be representing fairy tales on their floats. Also attending this meeting was the reigning River Days queen and court.
Each local high school sends one contestant to the pageant. Each girl is currently enrolled in her junior year of high school. Each individual school uses their own method of choosing the girl who will represent their school and community. Some use only student popular vote, while others have an interview panel including faculty and community members with student representation.
According to Lowe, this particular meeting being the contestants’ first, covered each phase of the competition, as well as all of the expectations for contestants from now until September. Each contestant competes in a private interview with the judges panel, an on stage introduction and question in the opening phase of competition, physical fitness and evening gown with another on stage question.
Each contestant also chooses a platform to promote throughout the summer that will make a difference in the community, as well as planning a community service project to inform the community about the platform they have chosen.
Lowe stated, “Each of the contestants are busy with their typical high school obligations. We believe that presenting all of the information for the summer now, allows them time to plan and schedule all of their commitments to be successful with the pageant. It requires a great deal of time management on their part, a skill that will transfer for them when they begin their college careers.”
As far as how often the contestants meet before River Days, the contestants have two formal practices in June and July and four in August. They work with local choreographer, Michael Stapleton to learn the production number, as well as the pageant committee to teach the walking, turning skills, and interview skills. The pageant moms then work with the girls in between each of the formal rehearsals to perfect the skills they need.
Future events for these girls are that while each contestant plans their community service event, the other eleven, as well as the reigning court, participate in those events. So, they have a busy summer of working together. In addition, the contestants participate in different events throughout the community. Their first official appearance will be the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade being held in Portsmouth. They will also be participating in TOSRV as volunteers and Hike for Hospice.
Lowe’s role as the pageant director and the queen’s chairperson for the festival, along with the queen’s committee, is to work to teach the necessary skills for the pageant, coordinate community events, as well as travel with the reigning court to represent the festival to other Ohio Festivals and Events.