Being Miss Maumee Valley

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Congratulations to the New Miss Lake Festival, Erica Gelhaus

[Above L-R: Pam (Roessner) Ranly, Miss Lake Festival 2002, Sarah Garman, Miss Lake Festival 2005, Erica Gelhaus, Miss Lake Festival 2006, Marisa Minor, Miss Lake Festival 2004 and me, Abby Bollenbacher, Miss Lake Festival 2001. Below L-R: Third Runner-up, Heather Waterman, First Runner-up Kaela Gardner, Miss Lake Festical Erica Gelhaus and Second Runner-up Brigette Hart.]

Congratulations to the Miss Lake Festival Scholarship program, which distributed more than $12,000 Monday night, their highest year yet! In the programs thirty-one years they’ve given out over one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars to young women for the pursuit of their educational goals.

Eighteen year old Erica Gelhaus was selected to represent the Lake Festival at the 2007 Miss Ohio pageant next summer. She plans to pursue music at Oberlin College and won the talent award at the pageant by performing the classical aria, "Saper Vorreste" from Verdi's The Masked Ball.

Her platform is “Developing Competent Reading Skills by Promoting Positive Attitudes at Early Levels.” In her platform statement featured in the pageant’s program book Gelhaus states, “The importance of this issue has been addressed through such programs as “chapter” in our local school district. I desired to take this one step further… I founded the Athletes Promoting Excellence (A.P.E.) reading program. This reading program took place twice every month during the school year allowing high school student athletes the opportunity to encourage and promote reading in a positive light. The young elementary students who may not enjoy reading give their full attention to the task when the athletes, whom they look up to and see play on game night, read a book to them and teach them new vocabulary words… In the future I would like to implement the A.P.E. reading program within many other school districts in order to give more student this opportunity…”

The complete results of Miss Lake Festival 2006 are as follows:

Miss Lake Festival 2006- $3,000: Erica Gelhaus
First Runner-up- $1,500: Kaela Gardner
Second Runner-up- $1,200: Brigette Hart
Third Runner-up- $1,000: Heather Waterman

Onstage Interview- unknown amount: Kaela Gardner
Private Interview- $600: Erica Gelhaus
Talent- $600: Erica Gelhaus

“Committed to Excellence” Award- $475: Tina Hogan
People’s Choice- $100: Heather Waterman
Barbra Wagner Award- unknown amount: Alicia Sneddon

Each non-finalist received $350. I thought this program usually gave out non-finalist interview and talent awards, but the announcements at the after party were inaudible and the local paper gave minimal scholarship information.
Additionally, the Western Ohio Education Foundation distributed $4,000 in in-kind scholarships to Wright State University Lake Campus.

Contestant order was as follows:

1. Tina Hogan
2. Gwen Scott
3. Jodi Moorman
4. Katie Westgerdes
5. Jessica Rosengarten
6. Jessica Bettinger
7. Beth Geire
8. Kaela Gardner
9. Brigette Hart
10. Lisa Canary
11. Heather Waterman
12. Alicia Sneddon
13. Erica Gelhaus
14. Sara Stalder

The judges were:

Linda Davis, a dance and piano teacher
Bob Exline, co-director of the Van Wert Peony Pageant
Lisa Hulskamp, two-time Miss Ohio contestant as Miss Clayland 1992 and Miss West Central 1991
Vicki Otis, Miss Lake Festival 1964
Eric Wagener, my Miss Maumee Valley Director

The night in brief review...

The newspaper article below reports that the women had to compete in swimsuit twice due to a technical error. This is unfortunately true and made a long show even longer; the pre-show began at 7:30 and Erica was crowned around 11:20! Despite this it was a great show. Kudos to the Lake Festival committee for their attempt to air condition the field house in which the pageant was held! It didn’t last the whole night, but it was quite an improvement over years past! (Miss Lake Festival used to be held outside at the fair grounds, but due to nasty weather both the year I won and gave up my title, it was forced indoors. The field house is the only venue large enough to hold the some 1,500 local fans that attend every year! This is an excellent problem to have, as sadly, many locals can barely fill 50 seats.)

Former Miss Ohio Sarah Tackett served as emcee and sang with her husband, entertainer Jeff Tackett. They both did a wonderful job, as always. Congratulations goes out to them as well; Sarah joked from the stage that it had been seventeen years since she was Miss Ohio, but she hadn’t let herself go “this much…” she and Jeff are expecting their second child together!

Sarah Garman, the outgoing Miss Lake Festival did a great job entertaining as well. She was joined onstage by friend, former Miss Lake Festival and current Miss Northwestern Ohio, Marisa Minor for a beautiful song; I believe it was called “The Prayer.” Their harmonies and presence together was really quite breathtaking.

In addition to Marisa, other past Miss Lake Festivals, local E.D.s and Miss Ohio board members introduced themselves onstage. They were: Board members Jerry Waite, Mark Schnitkey, Sharon Herlihy and Pat Anthony, Field Director Kim Saunders, Miss West Central Ohio E.D. Madonna Pettit, Miss High Mark E.D.s Bryon Sparks and Nancy Wheeler, Miss Northwestern Ohio E.D.s Randy Schroeder and Amy Shaw (also Miss Lake Festival 1988) and Former Miss Lake Festivals Jane Brunswick (1970) Pam Roessner Ranly (2002) and I (2001). Please note, I am not such a pageant dork that I remembered all that, rather, my mom took a picture of us all onstage!

Now, I must admit, I do not like most country music, nor am I a fan of sappy production numbers. Monday night’s finale was both these things and even I enjoyed it! Jeff sang the Bob Carlisle song “Butterfly Kisses.” His adorable two year old daughter joined him onstage and gave him a well-timed kiss on the cheek. After the first verse he handed her to someone off stage and the contestants came back onstage one by one during the verse that starts “Sweet sixteen today…” Once they were in the typical pageant semi-circle, outgoing Miss Lake Festival Sarah Garmon joined Jeff and also gave him a well-timed kiss on the cheek on the lines about giving a bride away. Near the songs end Jeff’s little girl was given back to him; with her in one arm, Sarah on the other and the contestants behind them, it made for a really nice finale. Even though the contestants are older than sixteen and Sarah wasn’t a bride, something about it really worked, great job to Jeff on the vocals and to who ever claims the original idea!


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