Crowns, sashes and trophies were presented for the new Miss Escalon and Little Miss and Mr. Escalon in separate pageants as part of the recently completed Park Fete Week. All the new royalty had the chance to be introduced to the community during the Saturday morning Park Fete parade and now begin a year of service.
Chosen as the new Miss Escalon at the conclusion of the Wednesday night, July 11 pageant was Madison Matsunami. Taking home the title of Little Miss Escalon was Perri Rodrigues and Little Mr. Escalon for 2018 is Dillon Simmons. They were chosen at a Thursday evening pageant.
Six candidates were in the running for Miss Escalon this year and, prior to the formal Wednesday night pageant, all had an interview with a judging panel and also had the opportunity for a professional photo shoot. The Wednesday event featured the girls in casual wear, taking the stage to explain why they chose their outfit and offering some personal insights. They also modeled formal wear and answered impromptu questions on stage at the city’s Community Center before the panel of judges and the audience.
Entertainment was provided by performers from the PowerHouse Dance of Escalon as well as some from the Manteca Youth Focus organization.
Coordinating both pageants was the team of Lexi Bavaro-Prins and Shannon Montgomery.
Miss Escalon hopefuls included Cady Wing, Jessica Fernandez, Kayla Kemp, Kiara Ancheta, Lauren Trejo and Madison Matsunami.
“I want to inspire people to step outside their comfort zones,” Cady Wing said of why she was seeking the Miss Escalon title.
For Jessica Fernandez, it was the chance to “be a role model for the youth and represent this town in a positive way” that prompted her to be a contestant.
Kayla Kemp said she wanted to be an inspiration, encouraging people “to be the best version of themselves” and Kiara Ancheta said she “wanted to give back to the community that has given so much to me” through her participation in the pageant.
Lauren Trejo brought her participation trophy from years ago, signifying taking part in the Little Miss pageant.
“You can’t always win but you can keep trying,” she said. “I want to not only be a role model for my little sister but also my community.”
For Madison Matsunami, the reason for seeking the crown was two-fold.
“I would love to represent this community,” she said, “and spread kindness.”
With a variety of questions posed, ranging from what new events they would bring to Escalon to what they might discuss if they could have a meeting with the mayor, the contestants provided clear, well thought out answers.
Each also was provided with information regarding what area brought them their highest score. When the results were tabulated, every contestant received an honor of some type, meaning all six will be together as Miss Escalon and her court for the year.
Cady Wing was named Miss Inspirational, Lauren Trejo was named Miss Congeniality – based on a vote of the contestants – and Kayla Kemp received recognition as Miss Photogenic. Named as the Second Alternate was Kiara Ancheta, with Jessica Fernandez as the First Alternate and Madison Matsunami as Miss Escalon 2018.
“It was amazing, a dream come true,” said an excited Matsunami, as family and friends snapped photos. “It was such a great experience, this pageant, an amazing thing to go through and I’m just so happy.”
Thursday night, it was the ‘littles’ turn to take the stage. Little Miss Escalon candidates were Presley Fidanque, Emily Govia, Sofia Lozano, Perri Rodrigues and Kirsten Yater and Little Mr. Escalon hopefuls were Joshua Baliel and Dillon Simmons. The contestants all answered brief questions, from their favorite movie to their favorite summertime activity, favorite animals and food, as well as what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Sofia Lozano listed pizza as her favorite food.
“It’s good and delicious,” she said.
Dillon Simmons said his favorite summer activity is swimming.
“I like to splash,” he said.
Kirsten Yater indicated she wants to be a singer when she grows up and Emily Govia said cats are her favorite animal “because they’re fun.”
After judges scored the contestants in a variety of areas, the new Little Miss and Mr. Escalon, Perri Rodrigues, 6, and Dillon Simmons, 6, received their crowns and trophies. All contestants were honored with applause and also had the chance to ride in the parade on Saturday morning.