The Azalea Festival Pageant has been saved in time for its 80th anniversary.
Terrie Misfeldt, a former Brookings resident with 21 years experience running the High School America Pageant, read the pageant might be discontinued this year since Alice Farmer decided to bow out after 25 years guiding young women through the process to earn scholarships.
“Just seeing it wasn’t going to happen after 80 years was a concern,” Misfeldt said. “I thought I’d step up and see if we can keep it going.”
Misfeldt lives in Roseburg but has judged the local pageant off and on for the past 17 years. She also has experience on stage, having competed as Mrs. Douglas County for the Mrs. Oregon title in 1998.
She didn’t win the coveted state title, however.
“But it was a great learning experience, having never competed before,” Misfeldt said. “It was a lot of fun, and I caught the bug and wanted to offer the opportunity for other young women to learn.”
She now has six weeks in which to pull the event together.
“We’re on a six-week time crunch,” she noted. “It’s kind of like flying by the seat of our pants to see what we can get in. The priority is having a court, following through with the pageant and getting out in the community as much as we can.”
Misfeldt said she wants to keep the program as close to what it’s been in the past, but also update it and make it more relevant.
“I want to make it more about the community,” she said. “That’s always been my focus. It’s about the community they live in and what they can do for them.”
The application process will remain the same, and she aims to keep the court size limited to five or six high school seniors.
The court that’s selected then solicits sponsorships within the community to feed a scholarship fund for the girls. In the past, each court member has been encouraged to earn at least $1,000 in sponsorships, but that might be altered this year, as well, due to time constraints.
Misfeldt also plans to simplify the pageant and not include as many categories.
“The interview is probably one of the priorities for me,” she said. “Interviews weren’t weighted as heavily before. The girls are out in the community and representing their community and the festival, so the interview process will be key, and how they present themselves on stage.”
She’s uncertain if an essay will be required this year.
The talent section of the pageant will be limited to 2.5 minutes, rather than five, and Misfeldt is considering eliminating the curtsy bow from the evening gown portion of the show.
The street attire portion is also unknown, she said.
Misfeldt would also like to look at the scholastic grades of participants.
The princesses are scored throughout the pageant and the panel of judges selects the queen for Azalea Fest.
Applications are available at the front desk at Brookings-Harbor High School or by emailing Misfeldt at firstname.lastname@example.org .
“It’s about the learning process, the growing process,” Misfeldt said. “Any of these young women who want to better their future, this is a really great way to represent their community and earn scholarships at the same time. It’s a lot of fun; it’s why I still do it.”
The pageant is tentatively slated for 6 p.m. May 11; announcements will be made in the Pilot as they become available. The venue has not yet been determined. Tickets will be available only at the door.