NEW BREMEN — On Tuesday evening, 15 little girls competed in the Little Miss Bremenfest Pageant in the James F. Dicke Auditorium at New Bremen High School.
“It’s good for the girls,” Co-Director Amy Hemmelgarn said. “It helps build their confidence and their town pride, I believe. Then it helps the community come together. (It) brings all sorts of different people in — grandparents, parents, that maybe normally wouldn’t go to the Bremenfest or have much to do with it.”
Hemmelgarn is in her first year as co-director of the pageant. She appointed her friend, Stephanie Dicke, as the other co-director. The girls, who were all aged 4 to 6-years-old, were judged on poise and personality, dance performance, stage appeal and question responses.
Amy Bowersock was one of four judges at the pageant.
“Personality, I think, is the biggest thing I’ll be looking for,” Bowersock said. “The more outgoing the girls are, I think the better they’ll do.”
She said that how the girls speak in front of an audience would be another thing that she would take into consideration.
This was the first time Bowersock ever judged a pageant of any kind, but she works at the St. Marys Chamber of Commerce and has had experience with the SummerFest Little Miss Pageant and the Bremenfest Queen Pageant.
“So I kind of know what to look for and what the judges expect out of the girls,” she said.
“I think it’s going to be fun. I’m not nervous. I want to make sure I pick the right girl, but no nerves at all; just pretty excited.”
The pageant opened with an introduction by master of ceremonies Ken Demange, who then introduced 2010 winner Rianna Paul and this year’s 15 pageant participants.
He introduced each girl and asked them a series of simple questions, the answers to which varied widely.
Some of the questions included: age, grade they will be entering, the name of their previous and new teachers, their favorite recess activity, whether or not they went on vacation this summer, whether or not they have any pets and their favorite color.
Demange asked soon-to-be first-grade student Alysa Wissman what her favorite thing to do at school is.
“Well, my favorite thing at school last year was that we got to do fun stuff when we were working,” she said. “We got to cut up stuff and make stuff.”
He asked future first-grade student Molly Dues whether or not she had any pets.
She responded by answering that she has a pet fish and a pet dog named Scooby.
“No, mom or dad or both of them, because I wasn’t really born then,” she responded when asked if she named the dog.
Demange asked soon-to-be kindergartner Abigail Burden what her favorite game is.
“Chutes and Ladders,” she said. “Because there’s ladders you can go up and slides that you can go down.”
Following the introductions, the girls performed dances to the songs “Aloha E Komo Mai” and “Hawaiin Roller Coaster Ride.”
The judges were then introduced, followed by a photo slideshow of each of the 15 contestants.
Cracker Jax then gave a musical performance, followed by a talk given by 2010 Bremenfest Queen Katie Goettemoeller.
Next, the 15 participants took place in a modeling and interview competition.
The pageant closed with a farewell to the reigning Little Miss Bremenfest and a group performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” featuring this year’s 15 participants and Rianna, the 2010 winner.
The 15 participants, listed by name, age and parents were : Mackenzie Bornhorst, 4, Steve and Krista Bornhorst; Abigail Burden, 5, Chris and Loresa Burden; Molly Dues, 5, Tim and Casey Dues; Emma Eshleman, 4, Tony and Judy Eshleman; Olivia Heitkamp, 5, Bob and Amy Heitkamp; Mia Hirschfeld, 4, Tony and Jennifer Hirschfeld; Cadence Hirschfeld, 4, Tyler Hirschfeld and Melinda Uhlenhake; Brooklyn Kremer, 6, Brian and Tracy Kremer; Megan Reinhart, 6, Pete and Pam Reinhart; Jocelyn Shimp, 5, Tom and Jodi Shimp; Gabrielle Terpstra, 5, John and Angela Terpstra; McKenzie Waterman, 6, Tony and Angie Waterman; Maria Wells, 4, Jon and Suzanne Wells; Lilly Wilker, 4, Tom and Amy Wilker and Alysa Wissman, 6, Carla Wissman and Brian Smith.
The first, second and third-place finishers will each receive a $50 savings bond, along with a crown, an award plaque, a sash and flowers.
The winners will be announced at the opening ceremonies of Bremenfest Aug. 19 at the Crown Pavilion in New Bremen.