Now called the Phenomenal Ladies and Gentlemen Pageant, this year’s event will be held March 23, and registration is open now. Johnnie Mae Swagerty, executive director of New Vision Youth and South Central Kingsport, said the event is a good opportunity for children young and old to build confidence and self-esteem.
“You’ve got some that are really shy and have low self-esteem,” Swagerty said, “and this will bring them out of their shyness.”
The Gents to Gentlemen pageant merged this year with the Little Miss Vision Pageant, which is organized by Tonia Johnson and Joni Hughes. Little Miss Vision was started as a separate event in 2004 by Johnson’s mother.
“Since she passed away, we kind of stopped, and now we’re picking back up,” Johnson said. “We joined up with Johnnie Mae and were trying to think of a theme, so we said, ‘Phenomenal Ladies and Gentlemen Pageant.’ We have girls from ages 6 to 16. We teach them the three A’s — attitude, ability and appearance — and how to be on stage.”
About the event
The pageant will be held March 23 at 7 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium, located at 1550 Fort Henry Drive. Spectators are invited to attend, and tickets are $3 for children 11 and younger or $8 for adults and children ages 12 and over.
Boys and men of all ages are invited to participate in the pageant. Male winners will be named in several categories: Mr. Cutie Pie (birth to 4 years old), Mr. New Vision Youth (5-16 years old), Mr. Handsome (all ages), Mr. Photogenic (all ages), Mr. Senior Citizen (50 years or older) and Best Dressed Male (all ages). All male participants will receive a gift bag and participation certificate.
Girls ages 6-16 are invited to participate in the ladies’ portion. Female winners will be divided in three age groups: 6-9, 10-12 and 13-16, and a Miss Congeniality will be named in each age group. All female participants will receive a trophy.
Male participants are asked to wear a suit or other dress clothes and a tie, while females will model a few different looks: T-shirt and jeans, casual and Sunday best. A required practice will be held the day before the pageant.
For girls, the deadline to sign up for the pageant is Feb. 23. Boys and men can sign up through March 20. Applications for both are available at the Civic Auditorium or at Taylor-Hamilton Insurance, and the entry fee is $25 for males and $35 for females.
Johnson said an earlier registration deadline was put in place for girls because they will participate in a tea party before the pageant, during which they will learn etiquette and get to know each other. The girls will also participate in other events throughout the year.
“Most of them come out to be good friends at the end,” Johnson said. “That’s what life is all about.”
The pageant is held in partnership with city of Kingsport Parks and Recreation community services, Taylor-Hamilton Insurance Co. and Plaques Etc. For more information about the male portion of the pageant, contact Swagerty at (423) 429-7553. For more about the female portion, contact Johnson at (423) 967-1016.