The annual Dogwood Festival in Fayetteville, North Carolina, began in 1982, when Mayor Bill Hurley declared the community the City of Dogwoods. Since then, the Dogwood Festival has blossomed into a three-day event held in downtown Fayetteville at the end of April. The festival includes a street fair, entertainment and other family-friendly events. The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival Pageant, added in 1998, has become one of the main events of the celebration.
Pageant contestants must be between the ages of 6 and 22. The nonrefundable entry fee is $125, as of the time of publication. Contestants are divided into four age groups, with a maximum of 15 contestants per group. Each is required to submit an application and agree to follow the contest rules.
Contestant Age Divisions
Contestants are divided into four groups: Junior Miss, Young Miss, Teen Miss and Miss. Girls in the Junior Miss division are ages 6 to 9 years old, Young Miss contestants are 10 to 12, Teen Miss is for ages 13 to 16 and the women in the Miss category must be at least 17 but no older than 22.
All contestants are judged in the Private Interview and Evening Gown categories, and top contestants also complete the On-Stage Interview. The Private Interview is conducted before the pageant, with judges interviewing each contestant and assigning each a score. Next, the contestants walk through the Evening Gown competition, which includes points for poise and stage presence. Finally, the top contestants in each age division give an On-Stage Interview.
Winner Prizes and Responsibilities
The winner of the Miss category earns a $1,000 scholarship at the end of her reign. She may also be offered additional scholarships by colleges in the Fayetteville area. Winners in all divisions receive flowers, a trophy and a crown. One contestant in each division is selected for the "Miss Congeniality" award, and one contestant receives an "Interview Award." The contestant with the most impressive community service record and written essay is presented with the J.L. Dawkins Community Spirit Award. All pageant winners are responsible for participating in Dogwood Festival events and acting as regional ambassadors.
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