Little princesses for a day
Girls enjoy competition in Saturday's 2008 Little Miss Blueberry Pageant
July 02, 2008IMLAY CITY — It was a story book evening and a dream come true for 9-year-old Emily Lowe who always believed that her wish would come true someday.
In 2005, she competed in the Little Miss Blueberry Pageant when she was six years old and won third place, and she competed again but didn't place the following year. In 2007 she had an unfortunate accident during the Little Miss Blueberry pageant week and couldn't compete at all.
So on Saturday, Emily was just happy to be walking in the footlights to, "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes." She didn't know that her dream was about to be fulfilled. Stepping to the beat of Hannah Montana, she tap danced right into the hearts of the judges that evening and won the crown of Little Miss Blueberry 2008.
Emily was surprised, yet confident that even if she hadn't won, the evening would not have been spoiled for her. The best part of the competition was the camaraderie of her fellow competitors and just enjoying those footlights.
"It's all about having fun," she says.
With two sisters, Emily doesn't mind admitting that she enjoys being in the limelight when she can get it, which isn't easy to rob from older sister, Alisha ,who won the Blueberry pageant in 2003 and her younger sister, Chloe, 6, who competed in this year's pageant alongside her.
"It was easy for me to get up on stage," Emily says. "I liked it."
She and her younger sister, Chloe, had plenty of family members cheering them on that night with Mom Jenny, her father, Doug, grandparents Kathy Lowe and Judy and Butch Woodworth (Jenny's parents) and, of course, older sister Alisha.
"Alisha helped us prepare for the pageant," says Emily. "She's a good big sister."
Emily, who will enter 5th grade in the fall, says her main interest is dancing, which she practices at Amber's Dance Academy in Almont. Her long-range dreams sway toward becoming an actress, and she enjoys golf and wants to become a cheerleader some day.
Emily came prepared that evening either to take her bows or to give her bows to the next reigning Little Miss Blueberry. She learned from experience that not everyone can be first and gives this advice to future pageant participants:
"When they do it, keep going for it and if they don't win, tell the winner congratulations, you did a good job," Emily says.
Complementing the Little Miss Blueberry Court are first runner-up Madison Chambers, 5, daughter of Stephanie Norris, second runner up Emma Auger, 7, daughter of Becki Auger, and third runner up Angellica Kelley, 8, daughter of Alison Rodriguez Kelley and Jose Jimenez.
All 29 contestants walked away winners and are now "A Princess Forever" with their trophies, gift bags, certificates, flowers, costumes and choice of being in the Blueberry Parade and on stage on Aug 1.
Lorraine Filer has been coordinator for the pageant for 24 years and says there were more participants this year than normally seen.
"I thought it went real well," Filer says. "It was a good bunch of girls and they did a great job. I'm extremely pleased with them, they made beautiful little princesses."
Since every princess needs her Prince Charming, little Darren Filer, dressed in his white tuxedo, presented every girl with a carnation.
"He just turned four, I think he did a fine job," Filer says with a chuckle.
This year Filer sent out open invitations to former Little Miss Blueberry winners dating back to the pageant's inception in 1984.
Little Miss Blueberry 1988, Melissa Balfour; 2003 winner Alisha Lowe and 2005 winner Michelle Barton were present for the event that evening.
Filer says a special "thank you" goes to Kim Jorgensen and her cheerleaders, Betty and John Cramer who donated money to make the costumes, and Edna Stoldt who cooked the meals for their seven judges. Trina Sherman made the costumes, Hyponex donated the majority of prizes, Imlay City Ford donated $290, Heatherton Assisted Living donated $25, Stoldt Farms donated $50, Auto Medic donated $50 and Don's Auto Repair donated $25.
"So many people help donate. It's impossible to name them all," says Filer, "Without them I couldn't do this."
Filer says her gratitude goes out to everyone who helped make the pageant a success, especially her husband and family members.
Everyone working together made this year's pageant a storybook ending for the princesses to remember.
Little Miss Blueberry participants will be at the Blueberry Festival on the main stage at noon on Fri., Aug. 1.