Steps in Putting on a County Fair or a Festival Pageant
by Viola Suits
- Find out who the most popular DJ's are in your area and urge them to talk about your upcoming contest. Also, have plenty of publicity in your local papers to create interest so that you will have lots of contestants.
- Be sure all contestants can conform with the state rules which you will receive.
- Have at least two rehearsals before the pageant so that the girls will gain confi dence and be able to perform well. I strongly suggest that both rehearsals be on the actual stage on which they are to appear.
- Make sure the contestants appear in one-piece swimsuits, and have a formal for the competition. They must avoid wearing the new extremely high platform shoes; they should wear pumps or sling pumps with swimsuits.
- Find a stage director who knows how to direct a show. Be sure to find a person who can teach the girls to properly walk and make simple turns and how to stand correctly. Posture is very important. I suggest two rehearsals unless the girls need more help. Your director should have all details fi rmly set down so that no time is lost at practice. She should mark the stage with masking tape so that the girls will know where to turn and how to stand in a semi-circle.
- Your director should be a person who will teach the girls grooming and grace so that, win or lose, each girl will have gained from the experience. This is important. She must make each girl feel like a Queen on that stage.
- You should have someone standing by each girl as she enters the stage for her solo appearances.... you will need a crew of at least three women to help in the dressing room and with make-up. Find a woman who can help the girls with simple make-up.
- Music. I believe a good organist playing during the entire show makes the best pageant. However, many fairs prefer a band. Make sure they play with a good beat, easy to walk to, and make sure the director has them play low when the MC is talking. The director should give a complete sheet of directions to the organist or band so that they can perform well. Let them know when and when not to play. Music is important. If at all possible, the music should not be onstage with the girls, below the stage, or at side; however, if impossible, put them to the side, back out of the way, or they will distract from the girls.
- Master of Ceremonies. A good MC will make or break your show. Pick preferably a man who knows how to keep a show moving along. Make sure he and the director are in constant contact so that he knows what's going on backstage .There should be not one lull or dead spot in the show, and make sure the MC is not a "wise-cracker" who can easily cause a second-class pageant. Ask him to make no remarks about swimsuits and the like. Insist he stick to announcing names, etc., and stay away from the jokes. Parents certainly frown on this. If he's high class, so will be the contest. Also make sure he has the same complete sheet of directions like the one enclosed so that he knows exactly what will be next.
- Stage. Many events go into detail and create fantastic scenes onstage. However, I have seen many beautiful shows where the only decoration on stage were the girls. If you have money, make it fancy. If you're broke, count on the girls!
Judges are usually chosen in accordance with the number of contestants. I suggest two men and one woman for eight to 20 girls, and three men and two women for a contest with 21 or more girls.
Try to pick judges that are not familiar with the area or the girls. This is not always possible and may not be feasible. Some contests give the judges a modest payment, some will give them a dinner and a payment and always pay for travel-this is up to your committee. Make sure the judges are people of the highest respect and ask them not to discuss their decisions, before or after, with any of the contestants.
I suggest you have tea or dinner before the pageant so that the judges can informally visit with the girls. Also, a two- or three-minute private interview set up in a separate room for each girl is good. This will give the judges a chance to score the girls' ability in conversation-her personality, etc.
4. LAST YEAR'S QUEEN
Be sure to ask last year's Queen to assist and be present at every practice. You may want her to time the interviews, etc. She should play a big part in helping. She will also be able to help the girls with their talk or one minute little speech they have to give. We usually let them say what they wish.
5. VISITING QUEENS
Many fairs invite surrounding Queens to attend. They introduce them onstage and it makes for good public relations. This is all up to you.
Prizes and trophies are given in accordance with how much a fair or festival can afford. Try to get the local merchants, banks, insurance companies, etc., to give gifts-the more the better-and make sure each contestant gets something for all her effort. Invite them to take part next year if they do not win; one more year's experience can make a girl a winner. Many of our Queens have competed more than one time. It's a great experience.
On the next pages we are including a sample sheet of how you may want to produce your pageant.
Fair or Festival Pageant
(Music will play for a short time before contest begins.)
- GROUP IN FORMALS. Call girls quickly to stage for appearance. Call each girl by number and name. She will take a step forward then back as her name is called.
- INTRODUCTION OF RETIRING QUEEN. She will parade across the stage in front of the girls and quickly greet the crowd, then off, then dismiss the girls with a thank you.
- INTRODUCTION OF JUDGES.
- FORMAL COMPETITION. Each girl will appear and model onstage alone.
- GROUP IN FORMALS. Bring girls back, call off their numbers and names, then dismiss with a thank you.
- ENTERTAINMENT. About 10 minutes is needed for girls to change. A good local act or group.
- SWIMSUIT COMPETITION. Each girl will appear and model by herself.
- GROUP IN SWIMSUITS. Call girls quickly back and call off each number and name, have them step forward and back, then dismiss.
- ENTERTAINMENT. 10 minutes needed, at least.
- GROUP IN FORMALS. QUESTIONS AND TALK. Call girls quickly to stage. Have each girl tell the audience something about herself. She goes to front center stage, MC steps away and gives her the spotlight. After she has given her speech, you may have her take a question from a bowl-this is optional-then dismiss group after all have given a speech.
- INTERVIEW LAST YEAR'S QUEEN OR SPECIAL GUEST. While judges are making their decision, the Queen or Guest can give a talk and possibly more entertainment.
- GRAND FINALE. When all scores have been totaled and a winner has been chosen, call girls onstage in GROUP. Have Queen stand side-front.
- ASK FOR ENVELOPE. Call person who has envelope to come forward and hand it to MC.
- WINNERS. Call off 2nd runner up (have trophy and gift). Call off 1st runner up (have trophy and gift). Call Queen front center, then name NEW QUEEN. She will step front center and the retiring Queen or dignitary will crown her. Retiring Queen or dignitary will put on ribbon and the new Queen will receive trophy and gifts from MC. (If you have special gifts for all the contestants, good time for them to be given is right before the MC asks for the envelope). IF POSSIBLE, HAVE NEW QUEEN TAKE A LONG WALK EITHER UP OR DOWN STAGE AND GREET HER NEW SUBJECTS