The Miss Farmington Fair pageant will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year during the Farmington Fair.

Started by founder Lisa Bird, of Gorham, in 1999, the pageant has grown to be a crowd favorite each year and a wonderful way to kick off the excitement of the annual Farmington Fair, according to a news release from pageant organizers.

In 1998 Bob Underwood, Lisa’s dad and past fair president, asked her if she had any suggestions of entertainment opportunities that could be added to the fair. “I immediately said that they needed a pageant”, said Bird, according to the release. “I had always enjoyed watching the pageants at local fairs and festivals in Maine, and also had a long personal history with state and National pageants. I just knew it would be a hit”. The following year Bird hosted the first Miss Farmington Fair Pageant with more than 20 contestants.

The pageant is not a beauty pageant. This is a pageant geared toward making every contestant feel special, with a focus on their confidence, personality and stage presence. The girls are judged in three categories which include interview, talent and formal presentation. In addition, the contestants also can compete for the title of Miss Hospitality which is all about Fair Involvement. Other prizes offered include Miss Congeniality, and an award for best essay.

Over the years the contestants have entertained audiences with a wide variety of talent: Lots of singing and dancing, playing musical instruments, karate demonstrations, stand-up comedy, poetry readings, painting, monologues, gymnastics, baton twirling and more.

Bird will hand over the reins to two new co-directors during this years pageant. Bird said, “20 years seems like the perfect time to retire. The Franklin County Agricultural Society has been so supportive all these years and I am incredibly grateful to them for all that they have done for the pageant. I have met some amazing young ladies, watched many of them grow up in to incredible women. It’s going to be hard to let it go, but after 20 years of watching the girls from back stage, I am looking forward to being able to come back to the fair each year and watch the show from the stands,” according to the release.

The reigning 2018 Queens will hand over their titles during the pageant set for 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Farmington Fairgrounds. Preparation, rehearsals and interview competitions will take place during the day beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Current title holders are: Little Miss Farmington Fair, Elizabeth Schiche; Jr Miss Farmington Fair, Leyani Robinson; Miss Farmington Fair 2018, Leslie Kaut; and Miss Farmington Fair Collegiate, Emily Williams.

Contestants applications are being accepted. Young ladies who reside in Franklin County and the surrounding area, and are between the ages of 7 and 22, are welcome to participate and compete for the titles of Miss Farmington Fair Collegiate (19-22) Miss Farmington Fair (15-18), Junior Miss Farmington Fair (11-14), Little Miss Farmington Fair (7-10) and Miss Hospitality (for the young lady who is most active in participation in the fair itself). Prizes also will be awarded for each category of competition in each age group as well as essay, Miss Congeniality and runners-up prizes.

A snack and pizza will be provided to the girls during the day and trophies and some Cash prizes will be awarded from the Franklin County Agricultural Society.

Contestants will be judged in interview, talent, and formal presentation.

Past queens are encouraged to attend in crown and banner and are welcome to perform the opening number and their own talent.

Interested in participating as a judge? email a letter of interest to [email protected].

For an application, contact Bird at 839-5578 or [email protected] . The application deadline is Friday, Sept. 13.

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