By Casie Duchak
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — The month of June, though it seems far away, is quickly approaching and along with it, the annual Troy Strawberry Festival.
The festival offers various foods, crafts, and entertainment centered around strawberries. Among the many activities that take place, one of the most important is the Troy Strawberry Festival Queen’s Pageant. It’s an activity that takes place in April in order to have a crowned queen for the festival.
The Queen’s Pageant is an opportunity for sophomore, junior and senior girls to meet new people, win scholarships and have the chance to be the 2016 Troy Strawberry Festival Queen. There will be 16 girls selected to participate in the pageant based on their applications and, if necessary, preliminary interviews held the week of March 7. Applicants must live in and attend school in Miami County.
Contestants will participate in a number of activities once selected. First is a mandatory Queen’s Candidate Informational Tea that will be held on March 13 at the Troy Hayner Cultural Center where candidates will receive important information and details about the pageant as well as have their photo taken. Next, on April 6, contestants will be interviewed off stage by three judges. Dress rehearsal will be held on April 7, and the actual pageant will be held on April 8 at Troy High School.
The pageant itself will consist of an onstage interview, a walk-in introductory routine and a “personally you,” or talent, segment. All talents must be solo performances and last no less than two minutes but no more than three. Talents can be anything from sports to speeches to musical demonstrations as long as they fit the criteria required by the pageant rules.
The winner of the 2016 Troy Strawberry Queen’s Pageant will receive a $1,200 scholarship and the first and second runner ups will win a $800 and $600 scholarship, respectively. They will be required to attend the various events related to the Strawberry Festival that are scheduled after the pageant, including the actual Strawberry Festival, which will take place June 3-5.
Why take part in this? Experienced pageant contestant and THS senior Hannah Stickel, who won the 2011 Junior Miss Strawberry Pageant, has an answer.
“It’s an extremely rewarding experience. You get to see behind the scenes of all sorts of Strawberry Festival activities and you get to be up front in the parade. It’s a huge event in the community and there are so many younger girls that look up to you.”
When participating in the pageant, it’s important not to change to fit what the judges might like. Sticker advises anybody who gets nervous performing onstage to remember to focus on what they’re doing without overthinking it.
“Nobody wants you to mess up. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by that you really wanted to take because you were too scared to do what you wanted to do,” Sticker said.
Applications for the 2016 Troy Strawberry Festival Queen’s Pageant can be found in the high school’s main office. The deadline to submit applications to the Troy Strawberry Festival Office is March 1. For any questions not answered in the application packet, contact Pageant Chairperson Courtney Wertz at (937) 451-2383.
Casie Duchak is a Troy High School senior who surprisingly enough, has never attended the Strawberry Festival.