Judy McCarthy of Harbour Grace and Wendy Penney of Carbonear have taken the reigns from outgoing chairperson Aimee Power. But don’t expect a drastic change to the pageant’s structure.
The co-chairs have been filled in on the previous pageants and how things were ran over the past few years, and they hope to use that format and build on it.
“We’re just growing on ideas that are already there,” Penney told The Compass.
It will take place at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace during the annual Trinity Conception Fall Fair.
There will be a few add-ons that have not previously been a part of the event and some previous activities will also be brought back.
One of the biggest changes this year is the addition of ambassadors, young males that will escort the contestants to events and on stage for Sunday night’s competition.
The ambassadors are from Bay Roberts to Salmon Cove.
Although not common, they have been a part of other pageant events around the world.
The Rose of Tralee pageant in Ireland has male escorts for its contestants as well.
Something that is being brought back for the first time in almost a decade is the meet and greet for contestants on Friday evening and after the winner is crowned Sunday night.
The new committee hopes that some of these additions will help attract more contestants.
In the 1990s, more than 25 contestants would take part on average for any given year. In comparison, eight contestants participated last year.
Young women between the ages of 18 and 27 can apply from anywhere across Newfoundland and Labrador, but McCarthy and Penney would love to see some local girls compete this year.
The last local contestant was Gina Colbourne, who earned the first runner-up award in 2013. Two local women earned the title in the past decade — one from Carbonear and one from Winterton.
Attendance has also been down the past few years. Last year, the Trinity Conception Fall Fair committee added some big prizes that were drawn at the pageant. But to win, you had to be in attendance.
Although it brought out some viewers, the co-chairs believe more people would come out to see a local girl compete.
Entertainment is also on the agenda. Although some details are still being worked out, the committee has arranged for a snippet from a local production of the musical comedy “Nunsense” to be performed in between sets.
There will also be other local entertainment, with the possibility of dancers, singers and other performers. The winners of Friday night’s talent event will also be invited to perform.
McCarthy was a part of last year’s fall fair in the capacity of auditor for the Solo Sensations talent competition. “I got my feet wet,” she explained.
“And I thought this was something I would like to do.” Penney has been a part of the Miss Newfoundland and Labrador pageant as the auditor for the past six years.
She was also the president of Cee Bees Minor Hockey for several years.
“It’s a little bit different for me going from hockey sticks to tiaras,” she laughed. Other members of the committee include Victoria Winsor, Pam Whelan, Diane Butt, Carolyn Horwood and Katelyn Galway, all from the Carbonear-Harbour Grace area.
The local additions are a complete change from the previous committee, who were from the greater St. John’s area.
The new committee has already met several times, although they have only been together a short time. Each person has a job to do, said Penney.
Miss Newfoundland and Labrador often has a platform and is involved with many fundraising events over her reign. Bridgette Abbott, Miss Newfoundland and Labrador 2014-15, has been a big supporter of the Shave for the Brave campaign.
For the past few years, contestants have been asked to raise money for different charities, including the Single Parents Association and the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre.
This year, the charity has not yet been decided on, but the minimum requirement for fundraising was changed from $250 to $500. In 2014, one contestant raised over $2,100. For more information on the Miss Newfoundland and Labrador pageant or to apply, visit www.missnl.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.