KEWANEE — There were smiles. There were twinkling eyes. There was glitz and glamour and all the things a pageant holds. The 10th anniversary of the Miss You Can Do It Pageant and Rocking Afterparty was Saturday in Kewanee.
Forty contestants representing Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Iowa, California, Indiana, Michigan and Mississippi appeared before a packed Petersen Auditorium to vie for the title of Little Miss You Can Do It, Junior Miss You Can Do It or Miss You Can Do It.
The evening kicked off with an opening number performed by the Miss You Can Do It contestants, choreographed by college instructor and head judge Katie Rushing-Anderson of Galva.
Each contestant was asked an on-stage question: “If you had one wish, what would it be and why?”
“I just want to walk and do the same things my friends can do,” answered one contestant.
“I want to start a foundation to increase an awareness of people with special needs and challenges,” said another.
Earlier in the day, each contestant was privately interviewed by the panel of seven judges, had a pizza party, and socialized with old and new friends. Snow White, Cinderella and Rapunzel made a surprise appearance to meet everyone and help escort the contestants onto the stage and present the trophies. Each contestant left the pageant with a trophy.
Judges’ results were as follows:
• Petra Petty, Kewanee — Little Miss You Can Do It 2013
• Mariel Offermann, Joliet — Little Miss 2013 1st Runner Up
• Kelsa Garr, Plainfield — Little Miss 2013 2nd Runner Up
• Joycelynn McDaniels, Morton — Little Miss 2013 3rd Runner Up
• Alison Shanks, Evansville — Little Miss 2013 4th Runner Up
• Savana Spencer, Knoxville, Tenn. — 2013 Junior Miss Photogenic, 2013 Junior Miss 4th Runner Up
• Lauren Brooks, Yucaipa, Calif. — 2013 Junior Miss Private Interview, 2013 Junior Miss Casual Wear, 2013 Junior Miss 1st Runner Up
• Mariah Senn, Bloomington — 2013 Junior Miss Evening Gown
• Emily Boland, Bloomington — 2013 Junior Miss On Stage Question, 2013 Junior Miss 2nd Runner Up
• Tierney McKown, Hanna City — 2013 Junior Miss You Can Do It
• Karmen Holland, Rapids City — 2013 Junior Miss 3rd Runner Up
Miss You Can Do It
• Natasha Nimrick, Kewanee — Miss Congeniality 2013, Tudi Edwards Award, Miss You Can Do It 2013
• Victoria Gerstung, Nazareth, Penn. — 2013 Peoples Choice --(received $672.10), 2013 Miss Private Interview, 2013 Miss On Stage Question, 2013 Miss 1st Runner Up
• Samara Pfeiffer, Columbia City, Ind. — 2013 Miss Photogenic, 2013 Miss 2nd Runner Up
• Carlye Akers, Geneseo — 2013 Miss Casual Wear, Miss Evening Gown
• Jennifer Curtis, Nashville, Mich. — 2013 Miss 3rd Runner Up
• Ariel Rose, Princeton — 2013 Miss 4th Runner Up
Wink Berry of Sheffield received the Volunteer of the Year Award for her dedication to the pageant.
Host for the event was Jenni Pulos of Los Angeles, Calif. Judges were Katie Rushing-Anderson of Galva, Rebecca Goldsmith, 2011 Miss Iowa USA, Dr. John Eric Lomax of Peoria, Angelyn Craddock of Kewanee, Jaclyn Driscoll of Chicago, Ray Prewitt and Christopher Castleberry.
The Manny Lopez Quarter entertained at the Rockin’ 10th Anniversary Afterparty at the Kewanee Elks Club where guests walked the red carpet to pose for a photograph and enjoyed a buffet.
The Miss You Can Do It Pageant was founded in 2004 by Abbey Curran who was born with cerebral palsy.
“The ladies competing tonight will learn not be afraid to take a chance. I hope the contestants leave this pageant knowing this is a stepping stone, and that life if full of obstacles and challenges ... but that you’ll never know unless you try. The most important thing is that every time they look in the mirror or see their reflection ... they need to remember and see just how beautiful they are,” said Curran.
This pageant attracted Steve, Chris Casale and daughter, Amelia, from New Jersey to drive to Kewanee to help decorate and do anything needed to help be part of the pageant.
“The Miss You Can Do It Pageant was something Chris and I wanted our daughter to experience. We didn’t know what we would find in Kewanee. It was well worth the drive, and we hope to be here for the 11th Miss You Can Do It Pageant,” said Steve.
“Each contestant leaves a winner,” said an audience member. “But I think I was the real winner. These young ladies and their families are truly inspiring.”