Reunion Pageants set

Applications now being accepted for annual Reunion Week pageants.

As plans get under way for the 122nd annual Soldiers Reunion, registration has begun for contestants in the five Miss Reunion beauty pageants – the forerunner of Catawba County’s major patriotic festival. And to commemorate the milestone year for Newton's Soldiers Reunion, this year's pageant will include cash prizes.

The Miss Reunion title will be bestowed on area girls and young women during a series of three evenings of competition, which precede the August Reunion Week activities in the county seat city.

Pageants will begin on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 9 when Tiny Miss Reunion will be selected. The Little Miss Reunion and Junior Miss Reunion pageants will continue the festivities on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The pageants conclude on Thursday Aug. 11 with the Teen Miss Reunion and Miss Reunion contests.

The pageants — which are open to the public — will begin each evening at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Newton-Conover Auditorium on West Sixth Street. One adult will be admitted free per contestant, and for other adults admission is $3. Admission for children is $2.

A panel of judges will pick the royal courts, including both the queens and their attendants, who will then reign over the 2011 Soldiers Reunion events, which are traditionally highlighted by a day of activities that includes tributes to the county’s veterans of all wars and a commemorative late-afternoon parade on Thursday, Aug. 18.

All winners in each category including both first- and second-runners-up and the photogenic winner, will ride on the Reunion Queens float during the Reunion Day parade. Cash prizes will be given, along with crowns and sashes.

Applications for entries will be accepted through Aug. 6. Competitions will name Miss Reunion from young women aged 18-22.; Teen Miss Reunion title for girls aged 14-17; Junior Miss Reunion aged 10-13; Little Miss Reunion aged 6-9; and Tiny Miss Reunion aged 3-5 years-old.

The entry for all beauty contestants is $30 and there is an optional “Miss Photogenic” contestant in each category. The fee for Miss Photogenic entries is $15. All Tiny Miss and Little Miss contestants will compete in “Sunday dress” not a long, beaded pageant dress. The young ladies in the older divisions will wear more formal attire.

Entry forms are available at Pin Station Bowling Center, Dellinger’s Department Store, Carolina Furniture Store, Sebastians Boutique in Newton. Applications will also be available at A-Jewels in Conover. All Reunion Pageant applications must be mailed to Reunion Beauty Pageant, P.O. Box 906, Newton, N.C. 28658.

Rules of the contest stipulate that all contestants must be current residents of Catawba County and each must secure her own sponsor from family, friends or businesses. Contestants entering the photogenic competition must send one photograph with the entry form by the Aug. 6 deadline. Photos can be in color or black and white and no larger than 8x10 inches. Photos will be judged by a group of qualified photographers before the pageant.

Rehearsals for the pageant are set for Monday, Aug. 8 at the Newton-Conover Auditorium beginning at 6:30 p.m. for the Tiny Miss contestants. Rehearsals for Little Miss contestants will begin at 7 p.m.; Junior Miss at 7:30 p.m. and Teen and Miss contestants 7:45 p.m.

For further information about the contests, contact Debbie Huss at (828) 464-9680 or (828) 244-1510.

Further plans for Reunion Week activities will be announced by the Soldiers Reunion Committee. The festival is jointly sponsored by Newton American Legion Post 16 and the Newton Merchants Association.

The beauty contest for local girls began in the early 1920s as activities broadened from the time in 1889 when the first county-wide reunion of Catawba’s Confederate veterans was held on the Courthouse Square in Newton with a march around the old courthouse.