As the 2017 Milton Harvest Festival continues this week, the Milton Harvest Festival Princess Pageant — one of the fair’s biggest events — took place on Saturday night at the Milton Area High School.
The winner of the pageant Gretchen Fullmer, representing the Rotary Club, was stunned after being crowned. “It’s amazing. I’m so honored. I don’t know what to say. Words can’t describe it.”
This year’s pageant had 10 contestants.
The event has a strong following every year, which pageant committee chairwoman Sarah Drie, attributes to community involvement.
“Each of the girls is representing a different organization in the community. There’s a lot of family tradition, different generations of families being in the pageant,” Dries said. “The clubs being represented bring in a lot of the community support.”
The contestants go through three stages during the pageant. The first is an introduction in casual attire. Next is a two-minute speech recited from memory. The third event is the promenade, where contestants wear an evening gown. The top five girls after those three events then will have to answer a question from the judges.
For the contestants, the pageant can be difficult but worth it. Fullmer says she has always been a theater person but this is a change for her. “Speaking in front of people is definitely different. It’s weird talking about myself, but it’s a good experience.
“It takes a lot to really memorize your speech,” said Courtney King, representing the Junior Women’s Club in the pageant. “To get on stage and in front of people while being under pressure and still remember everything, it’s hard but you have to focus.”
The winner of the contest has many responsibilities throughout the year. Attending events in Milton and the surrounding areas, being in the parades and a few events for the local library. The pageant committee tries not to give them too much.
“We try to focus on them finishing their senior year. So we try not to overload them,” Dries said.
The Milton Harvest Festival continues throughout the week. Highlights include the scarecrow patch on Monday, a spaghetti eating contest on Wednesday and the Harvest Festival Parade this Saturday.