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Auburn pageants take the stage this weekend

24 women to compete for five different titles
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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This weekend some of Auburn’s young ladies and mothers will take the stage to compete in a time-honored community tradition. The annual Young, Junior & Miss Auburn Queen pageant will take place this Saturday. A total of 15 contestants will compete in three categories for one of the titles. The main title, Miss Auburn Queen, has been a local competition since 1935 and this year four young women have entered that category. In addition to the queen pageant, five Auburn mothers will compete in the Mother of the Year pageant and four local women will vie for the title of Mrs. Sierra Cities this Saturday. Mother of the Year entrants are nominated for community and family service. Mrs. Sierra Cities contestants are married women between the ages of 21 and 49 and who have chosen a cause in the community. Auburn pageants director Toni Fossum said the competitions are helpful because they award scholarship money and promote community service. “There’s a lot more involved to it,” Fossum said. “It’s not just throwing on makeup and walking on stage.” Fossum said entrants are required to pick a charity or platform to promote during their yearlong reign. Fossum said the newer pageant competitions for younger girls were more recently added to encourage the idea that youth should help their community. “I think it’s important for the younger generation to get involved in community service,” Fossum said. “It teaches them an appreciation for where they live and teaches them to give back to their community.” Fossum said the pageants also have an added benefit for the entrants. Contestants boost their self-confidence, she said, when they undergo judges’ interviews on and off stage and learn to speak in public. “Most of the ladies who do this are stepping outside of their comfort zone,” Fossum said. “It teaches them public speaking, interview skills and self confidence. All of those qualities they can use as they get older.” Trinity LaPera, Young Miss Auburn 2008, said she enjoyed helping the Salvation Army serve food on Thanksgiving Day and serving food at Lions Club meetings. The 9-year-old also said she enjoyed participating in local parades. “It was fantastic and amazing and the best year that I think I’ve ever had,” Trinity said. Trinity said she entered the pageant because she thought it would be a “great experience.” “It was my dream come true,” Trinity said. Fossum said she hopes that community members will support the contestants by coming to the pageants this Saturday. She said many people she’s talked to have a negative opinion of pageants and encourages them to find out that the Auburn pageant doesn’t fit the typical pageant stereotype. “Support these young ladies and see what it’s all about,” Fossum said. “What you see on TV is not what this is at all.” The Young, Junior and Miss Auburn Queen pageants are sponsored by International Fight Sports, Roper’s Jewelers, Strings Italian Café and Foster Graphics. The Mother of the Year and Mrs. Sierra Cities pageants are sponsored by Foster Graphics, International Fight Sports and Electric Tan. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment. ---------- What: Young, Junior and Miss Auburn Queen pageants When: 5:30 p.m., Feb. 21 Where: DeWitt Theater, Auburn Tickets: $8 at the door Click here to see contestant Young, Junior and Miss Auburn Queen pageants What: Mother of the Year and Mrs. Sierra Cities pageants When: 3 p.m., Feb. 21 Where: DeWitt Theater, Auburn Tickets: $8 at the door. Ticket also good for Young, Junior and Miss Auburn Queen pageants at 5:30 p.m. Click here to see contestant Mother of the Year and Mrs. Sierra Cities pageants ----------