It is because organizers take the time to make sure the contestants are comfortable, Vicky Mettler figures, that the Fall Festival of Leaves Scholarship Pageant has been so popular over the years.
The pageant committee is currently taking applications for the Oct. 13 event, which awards up to $2,400 in scholarships to the queen and four runners-up. The entry deadline is Sept. 16. The contest is open to girls who will be 15-18 years old by Sept. 30, 2016 and attend or are graduates of Hillsboro, McClain, Paint Valley, Adena, Chillicothe, Huntington, Southeastern, Unioto, Western Pike and Zane Trace high schools.
“I think the girls really enjoy it,” Mettler, a pageant co-chairman, said. “They’re very prepared because we have a photo shoot and three rehearsals to make sure the contestants are ready. I think they enjoy that camaraderie. We try to go to special lengths to make sure they feel comfortable.”
The pageant was down a bit last year with just 13 entries, but usually there are 20 or more. It’s limited to the first 25 applicants, who must pay a $10 fee.
But the queen receives a $1,000 scholarship, then depending on the money available that’s provided by local businesses and individuals, the first four runners-up receive scholarships of $500, $400, $300 and $200, respectively.
All contestants must attend a photo shoot at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Bainbridge Methodist Church, then must also attend rehearsals from 2-6 p.m. on Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9.
The 49th annual pageant will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13 in the Paxton Theatre and helps kicks off the festival that follows the next three days.
The pageant is held in honor of Loraine Granger, a former Paint Valley teacher who was highly active in the festival before she passed away.
Applications are available in Bainbridge at McFadden Pharmacy and Johnson’s Dairy Queen and in Chillicothe at She Said Yes and Brick Haven. They can also be downloaded at www.fallfestivalofleaves.com.
There will be a $5 admission fee to the pageant. Mettler said those funds are used to help with decorations, the judges and other expenses the committee incurs.
For more information contact Mettler at 740-634-3241 or Bobbi Blanton at 740-626-2045.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.