Apparently, Springfield is too big for just one "Miss Springfield." A group of Springfield residents is launching a "Miss Greater Springfield" pageant in March as a way to give teenage girls a chance to earn scholarships and pave the way to future pageants.
Jerry Burk is the executive director of the new pageant, which will debut on Saturday, March 27, at 7 p.m., at Greenspring Village. Originators got the idea from the Springfield Days festival. Sponsored by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Miss Springfield pageant kicks off the annual festival and is followed by a parade, carnival, art show, cardboard boat race and fireworks.
"We got the idea after we saw the Springfield Days pageant," Burk said. "It was a dead-end pageant."
By "dead-end pageant," Burk explained that the winner of the Miss Springfield Pageant only represents the chamber at various community events. The Miss Greater Springfield winner will be encouraged to run in the Miss Virginia pageant this June in Roanoke, and possibly move on to the Miss America Pageant.
The Greater Springfield motto is "There's a dream out there with your name on it."
Burk has been a resident of Springfield for the past 30 years. He volunteered for the Miss Maryland Organization and the Miss District of Columbia Scholarship Organization. The president, Duane Hollein, has been a resident of Springfield for 40 years and is the owner of Duane's Hair Fashions on Richmond Highway.
THIS YEAR'S Miss Springfield, Melinda Scott, wasn't too thrilled with the concept of another Miss Springfield pageant.
"It's a little conflicting," she said. "I feel less of a Miss Springfield. It seems like a division in the community."
Scott looked into the Miss Northern Virginia pageant, but it was canceled this year. She inquired about the Miss Virginia pageant as well, and she's waiting to hear from the organizers of that pageant. She does attend chamber events as well. She attended a fund-raiser at the Springfield Country Club in November and was invited to the chamber Mardi Gras Celebration. Nancy-jo Manney, chamber executive director, doesn't see a conflict.
"Our pageant is not an official pageant to work into the Miss Virginia pageant," said Manney. "Ours is more a scholarship thing."
The Chamber of Commerce pageant takes place at the end of May at Springfield Mall. Manney said girls can enter both pageants.
"If they're really into the pageant thing, they could do both," Manney said.
Marshawn Evans, 2001 Miss District of Columbia and third-runner-up to Miss America, will act as master of ceremonies for the March 27 pageant at Greenspring. She will give the participants a chance to talk to someone who has been through the pageant process. During the evening, contestants will compete in five major categories: interview, swimwear, talent, evening gown and platform. The show will also include entertainment.
According to Greenspring public relations manager Pam McKinley, a $12 fee will be charged to get into the pageant, with a discount for children and seniors.