In a program that featured casual wear, formal wear and impromptu questions, a baker’s dozen of young ladies from Escalon participated in the July 12 Miss Escalon Pageant as part of Park Fete Week festivities.
At the end of the evening, it was Grace Stime who earned the coveted title, sash and crown, holding back tears of excitement and joy as she received her crown and took a victorious stroll along the runway in front of the crowd at a packed Escalon Community Center.
The 13 candidates included Emily McPherrin, Tatiana Martinez, Amanda Rickman, Mary Adams, Courtney Ney, Sydney Moeller, Anabelle Shafter, Lily Franks, Karsyn Beckham, Monica Briones-Chavarria, Madison Kimble, Kaitlyn Matsunami and winner Grace Stime.
Also receiving titles were First Runner-Up Emily McPherrin, Second Runner-Up Anabelle Shafter, Miss Inspirational Kaitlyn Matsunami, Miss Congeniality Courtney Ney and Miss Photogenic Karsyn Beckham. Each contestant also received a special award, recognized for their highest score in one of the judged categories, from personality to casual wear to the question/answer session.
A panel of judges was on hand for the event and had also met previously with the contestants in an interview during the day. Following dinner, the program began around 7:30 p.m. and featured an intermission with performances by several Powerhouse Dance groups. Crowning of Miss Escalon and her court took place about 9:15 p.m.
The Miss Escalon Pageant was sponsored by the Escalon Lions Club, City of Escalon and Earl J. Rogers.
Outgoing Miss Escalon 2016 Briana Brasil helped emcee the event and also offered a brief retrospective of her time serving in the role. Pageant coordinators, new this year and taking over the reins from longtime coordinator Deverie Voral, were Shannon Montgomery and Lexi Bavaro.
In the casual wear modeling, the girls got to choose their outfit and explain to the audience what the outfit represented about them; in the formal wear, they were escorted by a family member – in many cases a dad but in a couple of cases, a sibling – and information about them was read by Brasil. The impromptu questions gave them a chance to answer everything about where they see themselves in five to 10 years to using one word to describe themselves.
Stime, who was born in Ethiopia and adopted in 2001, said she decided to get involved in the Miss Escalon pageant to stretch herself.
“I wanted to inspire other people,” she said, noting that she embraces the diversity she brings. “I don’t need to be like anybody else, I need to be myself.”
For the judges, that proved to be key, as the incoming Escalon High School senior provided insightful answers to the impromptu questions and also acknowledged how blessed she feels to have been adopted and brought to live in the U.S.
She does want to travel to Ethiopia someday and reconnect with her heritage, but for now will take on the task of representing Escalon at a variety of functions throughout the coming year.
“I’m a little overwhelmed, a little nervous,” she said. “But mostly I’m excited for what’s to come.”