PORTSMOUTH — After 25 years of being involved in the River Day’s Pageant, Pageant Director Lori Lowe has decided to pass down her crown.
Lowe began her career in the pageant world by dressing girls. She then became a pageant mom, and after, she became the director.
“At the time, pageant moms were assigned to the girls, so Debbie Hines asked me if I would want to be the pageant mom for Sciotoville,” said Lowe. “Around 2001, Tim Angel approached me and asked if I would be willing to be the director and I was a school principal at the time, so at first I thought I was a little crazy, but I did.”
Lowe said she had minimal experience other than what she had learned from previous years.
“I tackled that and stayed with it. I emersed myself in as much as I could possibly learn,” said Lowe. “I met some fabulous people along the way traveling around Ohio, I learned about festivals I didn’t know existed, and I honestly learned a lot about our state.”
Lowe said the biggest question she gets asked is why she did it.
“I became an administrator very young in my career and I think when you are destined to be a teacher that you look for opportunities to teach and when you become a building principal, you have fewer opportunities to teach kids,” said Lowe. “Doing River Day’s was my outlet to still being able to teach and that’s one of the reasons I truly loved doing it.”
Lowe said one of the biggest changes she made was the amount given in scholarships.
“Last year, I was super proud to say that we gave away over $13,000 in scholarships and honestly, that is one of the things I am proudest of,” Lowe said.
Lowe said last year all 12 girls received scholarships instead of one. Lowe shared she was blessed with good friends who supported her ideas and appreciated all the community support.
“The community embraced the changes I had made, especially when we upped the community service involvement and the platforms for the girls,” said Lowe. “People were more willing to give because they saw we weren’t just taking from the community. We were giving.”
Lowe said those two changes were her proudest accomplishments.
“I hope in my time as a director that I have been able to impact 300 girls that might become community leaders and have become community minded,” said Lowe. “I always call them my girls and I believe they have had good things to gain and grow themselves and for the most part, they have seemed appreciative of the skills they have learned along the way.”
Lowe said she felt it was time to step down when she became a “Gigi.”
“I have two wonderful grandchildren and my son is in his senior year of playing baseball at Shawnee State,” said Lowe. “I’ve been very giving of my time to the pageant and to the festival and it has just come the time to put my family first.”
Lowe said with times changing she felt it was another reason to step down.
“I’ll miss it and I am not going to tell you I won’t, but things are changing and it’s not River Day’s as we’ve known it, Friends of Portsmouth has taken over, kids are changing, the community is changing, and it was just time for me to be a grandma and take care of my family as opposed to taking care of everyone else,” said Lowe.
Lowe said she is very proud of who will be taking her place as the River Day’s Pageant Director.
“It’s someone that I had hand-picked to be my successor, I was her pageant mom way back in the day and she placed second runner-up, so she’s been a contestant, a pageant mom, she’s been a traveling queen, and last year when I asked her to join the committee it was in mind for her to take over, her name is Amanda Crabtree,” said Lowe.
Amanda Crabtree will take over as Director and Regina Speas will be Co-Director.
“Regina has been by my side the largest part of the time and she has really been over the Little Miss, so both have experience,” said Lowe.” I’ll always just be a phone call away to them and would be willing to help any contestant who needs help.”
Lowe wants to thank Tim Angel, Kelly Richardson, Stan Tackett, Tim Wolf, and everyone who supported her through the years.
The pageant girls are starting the first week of April instead of March due to the change in staff.
“We are looking forward to meeting the contestants from each school,” said Crabtree. “It is amazing to watch the growth that takes place from the opening meeting to the night of the pageant.”
Crabtree said the pageant teaches time management, financial literacy, and communication skills. For the first time in the pageant’s history, Portsmouth STEM Academy will be included.
“As a little girl, I remember seeing the contestants on their floats in the parade, and I knew that I wanted to be that girl one day,” said Crabtree. “River Days has a rich tradition and is something we are proud of, and we can’t wait to see all the schools show off their school spirit this coming Labor Day.”
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved