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Platinum pageant

Ninety-eight girls and young women will meet next Friday and Saturday nights with one objective — to represent all that Chilton County has to offer.

The Miss Chilton County Pageant observes its 20th anniversary this year, and as the pageant’s coordinators and participants look back over the years, they can see just how much it has evolved.

The first ever to wear the crown was Hilary Littlejohn Blakely in 1989. Back then, there was only one category.

Starting in 1992, however, Miss Chilton County became a preliminary for the Miss Alabama Agriculture pageant. The first and only to go on and capture that title for Chilton County was Roslyn Gore Driver in 1996.

“Every young lady since 1992 has gone on to compete in a state competition,” said Jill Hayes, Miss Chilton County 2006. “That makes us pretty unique in that we are a preliminary pageant.”

The year Hayes wore the crown was when the Clanton Evening Lions Club took over the pageant and expanded it to four categories: Little Miss (ages 5-7), Young Miss (8-12), Junior Miss (13-16) and Miss (17-24). The Little Miss category had been added several years earlier.

All winners who advance to the state level represent the Chilton County Farmers Federation and ALFA. But more than anything, the title encapsulates everything Chilton County stands for.

“These girls that are chosen represent the county for the entire year, and they represent all aspects of agriculture,” pageant coordinator Barry Rowe said. “They make numerous public appearances throughout the year and are eager to participate in and promote public affairs, such as the Arthritis Walk, Relay for Life and many others.”

Hayes, who twirled as a majorette at Auburn University, was named second runner-up in Miss Auburn University, a preliminary to Miss Alabama. She attributes much of her success to Miss Chilton County.

“It gave me a good opportunity,” she said. “We really got a vision of what we wanted the Miss Chilton County Pageant to be.”

Hayes is the alumni coordinator for this year’s pageants, which means she is charged with the task of locating all former winners. These winners will be recognized on stage next Saturday night.

The Little Miss and Junior Miss pageants will be Friday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Chilton County High School auditorium. The Young Miss and Miss pageants will follow on Saturday, July 25 at the same time and location.

Admission is $5 per person each night.

Preceding the pageants will be a tea Sunday, July 19 at Petals from the Past near Jemison from 2-4 p.m. Current Miss Chilton County Kayla Boddie will host the tea, and Miss Alabama Agriculture Casey East will speak.

Attending the tea will be all contestants and former winners of Miss Chilton County.

The contestants will also enjoy Princess Parties throughout the week, including Little Miss (Rockin’ to the ‘50s at the Clanton skating rink), Young Miss (Party at the Farm at the Pumpkin Patch), Junior Miss (Luau at the Clanton Country Club) and Miss (Masquerade Ball at the Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church Family Life Center).

For more information about Miss Chilton County, you may contact C&C Trophy at 755-1504.