Miss Altamont Fair pageant stresses "inner beauty"

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

The Miss Altamont Fair Pageant stresses poise and inner beauty, organizers say. Contestants range in age from 5 to 25, competing in different categories. Each girl answers an on-stage question during the pageant on the fair’s opening day, Aug. 13, as well as modeling party clothes and attire that suits their interests.

ALTAMONT— Mary Fronk, the team leader for the Miss Altamont Fair Pageant, said she hopes Alyssa Gaige will enter again this year.

Gaige, a student at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, has entered the pageant for the last three years and, last summer, was named the “Cover Girl” in her age category for getting the most sponsors.

Gaige usually uses a wheelchair because she was born with cerebral palsy but last year, with help, she walked across the pageant stage.

“She did very well,” said Fronk.

The deadline for applicants is Monday, Aug. 5, at 3 p.m.

“It’s a chance for the girls to break out of their comfort zone,” said Fronk of what the pageant offers.

“It’s not your typical beauty pageant,” she went on. “It’s more of an inner-beauty pageant, showing their inner qualities…who they are as a person, who they are on the inside, not just how they look on the outside.”

Echoing this, the pageant guidelines state, “The purpose of the Pageant is to give the contestants an opportunity to showcase their inner and natural beauty, speaking ability in a public environment, enhance their personal and professional skills in order to achieve their educational and professional goals, and become a positive representative of the Altamont Fair and their communities.”

Contestants must be residents of Albany, Schenectady, or Greene counties. They enter in one of five age categories: Little Miss for 5- to 7-year-olds, Young Miss for those 8 to 11, Tween Miss for those 11 to 13, Junior Miss for girls 14 to 17, and Miss Altamont Fair for those 18 to 25.

“We started a new category last year, Tween Miss Altamont Fair, and it went over really well,” said Fronk.

Contestants at all age levels will be interviewed on Saturday, Aug. 10. The results of that interview will count for 60 percent of their score.

The other 40 percent is based on their performance at the pageant, the first day of the fair on Aug. 13. The girls answer a question on stage and then model attire depicting their hobbies or activities and finally model, depending on their ages, party dresses or evening wear.

“Last year, some girls had cheerleading or sports outfits,” said Fronk. “One girl whose hobby was reading was dressed as a writer…It was old-fashioned,” said Fronk, describing the outfit, which included a fedora with a press card in its band.

The rules bar tank tops, miniskirts, bathing suits, short-shorts, and bare midriffs.

“Light make-up only!” is printed in boldfaced capital letters. “This is a ‘natural’ and amateur beauty pageant, no professionals…The judges will be looking for applicants who have natural beauty inside and out and a willingness to represent the Altamont Fair during the year,” the rules state.

There are three judges, Fronk said, usually two females and a male. This year, two of the judges are dance instructors, she said.

Winners are given free admission the week of the fair and are asked to wear their crowns and sashes. Winners also receive flowers and trophies, and everyone who participates gets a medal with a ribbon to wear as a necklace.

Throughout the year, the girls who win or place in the five age categories participate in charitable events, such as handing out water and snacks during a walk to fight breast cancer, or “adopting a local family for the holidays,” said Fronk.

“We have a lot of nice prizes this year,” she added, naming ski tickets to Hunter Mountain and tickets to play laser tag at Zero Gravity as well as an Origami Owl necklace for Miss Altamont Fair.

“It’s a locket with charms,” said Fronk, describing the necklace that is meant to tell the wearer’s life story. “They’re very popular.”

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Girls who want to compete in the Miss Altamont Fair Pageant may download an application from the fair’s website.

Completed applications may be delivered in person to the fair office (call 861-6671 to see if it’s open) or mailed to Miss Altamont Fair Pageant, Post Office Box 506, 129 Grand Street, Altamont, NY  12009.

The application, due by 3 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, is to be submitted with a non-refundable sponsorship fee of $27.

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