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Community Turns Out For Festive Fete Pageants
The 2016 Miss Escalon court includes, from left, Miss Congeniality Alexandria Anderson, Miss Photogenic Kiana Ancheta, Miss Inspirational Brooklyn Berry, Miss Escalon Briana Brasil, second runner up Daisy Pantoja, first runner up Jaden Scott. Marg Jackson/The Times

Briana Brasil was crowned Miss Escalon, with the ‘little’ crowns going to Gianna Wilson and Lucas Trejo, as new royalty was brought on board for this year’s Park Fete celebration.

Also, the many community service activities of Grant and Sandy Thompson were lauded at a luncheon as they were recognized as the 2016 Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon.

It was all part of a busy park Fete Week, beginning with the Tuesday luncheon that honored the Thompson couple.

While maintaining a family farm, the roughly 1500-acre operation is half walnuts and the other half supporting grain crops, corn and tomatoes.

Grant Thompson has a varied background in community service, including representing the Farmington area on the Escalon Unified School District Board, a member of the Kiwanis Club, fire board director in Farmington, a member of the Agriculture Hall of Fame and he served on the Central San Joaquin Water Board.

Sandy Thompson taught school at the former 4-Tree School and has been a substitute teacher in Collegeville and Farmington, as well as serving as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader.

Both have been active in coaching sports through the years, are members of the Escalon Presbyterian Church and are San Francisco Giants fans. They have been married for 46 years and have three children and 13 grandchildren.

On Wednesday night, it was an ‘Enchanted Forest’ evening as contestants in the Miss Escalon Pageant took the stage at the city’s Community Center. Opening with a skit about fairies getting their wings, the 11 Miss Escalon hopefuls also had the chance to model an outfit of their choosing and outline why they wanted to serve as Miss Escalon for the coming year. A formal wear presentation followed, along with two impromptu questions for each contestant, ranging from what they like best about Escalon, what their dream job is, how they could serve as a role model and how they define success.

Miss Escalon contestants this year were Kiana Ancheta, Alexandria Anderson, Jenelle Anderson, Brooklyn Berry, Kaylee Biedermann, Briana Brasil, Taylor Cockrell, Julia Orlando, Dairy Pantoja, Jaden Scott and Lexington ‘Lexi’ Wheeler.

Lexi Wheeler, posed the question ‘what is the biggest misconception about today’s youth?’ noted that “They think we’re on social media 24-7.”

Jaden Scott handled the question ‘What is your motto in life?’ by simply stating “Never give up … you can always overcome.”

Daisy Pantoja was asked what the biggest issue facing the city was and she indicated “having more jobs for the youth” was of primary importance.

A panel of judges scored the 11 contestants on poise, presentation, spontaneity and more, with the final tally showing Briana Brasil winning the crown as Miss Escalon. The title comes with a $1,500 scholarship. First runner up was Jaden Scott, earning a $750 scholarship and second runner up honors went to Daisy Pantoja, which included a $500 scholarship.

Miss Inspirational honors went to Brooklyn Berry, Kiana Ancheta was awarded Miss Photogenic and Alexandria Anderson was voted by her fellow contestants as Miss Congeniality.

Thursday evening, the young Little Miss and Mr. contestants took to the stage and had a pageant of their own, complete with a dance routine, question and answer session and more. Their theme was ‘A Bug’s Life’ and a large crowd gathered in the Escalon Community Center to witness the tradition of the Little Mr. and Miss Escalon coronation. With eight girls and three boys vying for the crowns, each of them took the stage in front of the panel of judges, past and present Escalon royalty, friends and family members. Open to boys and girls, five- to seven-years-old, contestants this year included Little Miss Escalon candidates Jocelyn Avilla, Alana Borrego, Faith Eckhardt, Emily Govia, Sofia Lozano, Abigail “Abi” Perreira, Mylah Schaffner and Gianna Wilson. In the running for Little Mr. Escalon were Cole Fox, Ivan Mendez and Lucas Trejo.

Gianna Wilson received the crown as Little Miss Escalon and taking home the win as Little Mr. Escalon was Lucas Trejo.

All of the contestants went through a series of questions including “What is your favorite part of summer?” “What is your favorite game to play?” “If you were a super hero, who would you be and why?” and everyone’s favorite, “Why do you want to be Little Mr./Little Miss Escalon?” The answers were just as adorable as the kids answering them, as Lucas Trejo got a loud reception with his response of “Because I love Escalon, Go Cougars!”

Following the first set of questions, the contestants all performed a dance number entitled “Jump, Fly and Crawl” with assistance and encouragement from the Miss Escalon contestants.

Attendees were also entertained with a mini talent show performed by some citizens of nearby Manteca, who sang and danced as an extra treat for the audience.

All of the newly crowned royalty made their 2016 ‘debut’ in the Saturday morning Park Fete parade.


Times reporter Dennis D. Cruz contributed to this story.