ST. MARYS — In what pageant organizers called a “tight” competition, Brooke Slife was crowned the 2011 Miss SummerFest Queen Sunday evening at the annual summer pageant.
The eight contestants in the Miss SummerFest Queen Pageant were judged and given scores on an essay, a personal interview, an introduction, causal wear, a talent, evening gown and an on-stage interview. The contestant with the highest overall score was crowned Miss SummerFest.
Slife will be entering her senior year at St. Marys Memorial High School and said she is excited to be named Miss SummerFest Queen and all the opportunities it will bring her.
“It feels amazing because I love the town of St. Marys,” Slife said.
“I am willing to represent very well. I love meeting new people and this is definitely going to give me an opportunity to explore and meet new people. It just feels really good. I’m so glad I have the opportunity to be Miss SummerFest.”
First Runner-Up Makayla Buehler will be entering her sophomore year at Memorial High School and also expressed excitement to be named to the court.
“It’s awesome,” Buehler said. “It’s a good feeling. It’s taken a lot of effort, but I’ve achieved a goal so I’m proud of myself.”
Haylie McGee was name Second Runner-Up. A junior, McGee said a lot of work went into preparing for the pageant.
“A lot of voice lessons, a lot of working, a lot of going shopping,” she said.
McGee has been splitting her time between the pageant and showing her 4-H project at the Auglaize County Fair.
“We go show animals at eight o’clock in the morning and then come to pageant practice,” she said, laughing that she has no idea how she made it through the past several weeks. “It’s been hectic.”
Slife agreed the pageant took hard work but felt it was worth the effort.
“It takes a lot of dedication but it’s all worth it because you meet so many new friends and just this whole experience is awesome,” she said.
The pageant opened with a choreographed dance by the contestants, followed by casual wear. The talent portion of the competition followed, featuring several different acts including a flute performance, acting, singing and dancing.
McGee sang a piece from “Phantom of the Opera.” She said singing was a natural choice for her talent.
“I’ve been singing probably since I could talk,” McGee said.
Buehler choreographed her dance for the talent competition.
“I had to make up a dance, and that took a lot of preparation,” she said.
The ladies walked their evening gowns next, followed by an on-stage interview question.
Questions ranged from asking about the challenges facing teens and who they would most like to talk to, alive or dead. Laura Marsee, 2010 Miss SummerFest Queen, spoke about her year as queen before passing on her crown to Slife.
In addition to the queen and her court, three other awards were given out.
McGee was also named the People’s Choice Presentation winner, Sarah Mabry was awarded the Best Personal Interview and Slaven was named Miss Congeniality.
Buehler said she felt the eight girls had bonded through the hard work they had put into the pageant.
“We all definitely bonded,” Buehler said. “I would hang out with them now. They’re my good friends. We practiced so many times a week. We helped each other out and worked together.”
McGee also commented on how close the contestants got through their experience.
“The best part of the experience has been with the friends that I’ve made,” she said. “Brooke and I had never talked before last year and she’s one of my good friends now.”
As the 2011 Miss SummerFest Queen, Slife said she is looking forward to the annual summer festival.
“I’m looking forward to getting to meet new people in the community and explore the community,” she said.