Belhaven pageants seek contestants

Published 7:11 pm Saturday, May 19, 2012

Potential beauty queens between 4 and 18 years old are invited to vie for crowns during pageants to be held in conjunction with the 70th-annual Belhaven July 4 festivities.

New this year is the Young Miss Independence pageant, directed by reigning Miss Independence Elizabeth Harris. Girls between 12 and 14 years of age who reside in Beaufort, Hyde or Washington counties are eligible, according to Harris.

Elizabeth Harris is the reigning Miss Independence. Three pageant winners will be crowned in July during Belhaven’s July 4 festivities. (Contributed Photo)

Contestants must have an overall B average in school, and a scholarship will be awarded to the winner.

Areas of competition include evening gown, workout/fitness wear, response to an onstage question and patriotic wear in red, white and blue. The pageant will be held the evening of June 30 at Northside High School.

Two other pageants — longstanding traditions of the Belhaven celebration — are being held again this year.

The Little Miss Independence pageant is open to girls between 4 and 6 years old who have resided in Beaufort, Hyde or Washington counties for at least the past two years. The pageant, directed by Kimberly Clayton, is planned for the morning of July 4 at the John A. Wilkinson Center in Belhaven.

Little Miss contestants will be judged in patriotic wear, Sunday-best wear and opening number; there is also an optional talent category with a separate award. Little Miss Independence and her runners-up will receive prize packages that include savings bonds.

The Miss Independence pageant, directed by Brandy Grimes and Melissa Smith, is open to young women between 15 and 18 years of age who reside in Beaufort, Hyde or Washington counties. Contestants must have an overall B average in their school studies. The pageant will be held the evening of July 3 at the Wilkinson Center.

Areas of competition are evening gown, swimsuit, private interview with the judges and creative expression. Like the Little Miss division, there is an optional talent competition, and points awarded in that category will not be used to determine the overall pageant winner, according to Grimes. Miss Independence will receive a prize package that includes a college scholarship.

Contestants in the three pageants are asked to secure sponsors, which can be family, friends, churches, civic organizations and local businesses. Entry fees are as follows: Little Miss, $75; Young Miss, $100; and Miss Independence, $200.

According to organizers, contestants may recruit more than one sponsor for the entry fee. Sponsor checks should be made payable to the Belhaven Celebrations Committee.

Since rehearsals are set to begin shortly and contestants’ paperwork is due in early June, anyone interested in participating should contact the organizers as soon as possible. For further details, contact Clayton at 252-945-4520; Harris at 252-945-4983; or Grimes at 252-944-7216.

More information about the pageants and the July 4 celebration may be found on the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce website: