Crowning champion

SILVER CREEK – A new crop of beautiful young women, hoping to win the title of Festival Queen, showed up on stage at Silver Creek Central School for the village’s Festival of Grapes pageant on Saturday. The girls ranged in age from 7 to 18 and put up stunning performances in honor of this year’s theme: “A Tribute to the Arts.”

The night started with the National Anthem sung by Sara Opie and Kasey Zitnnik, before the girls preformed an opening number to Brave by Sara Bareilles, wearing green, yellow and pink shirts, which separated them by their age group.

As soon as their dance and song number was complete, Mark James, the Master of Ceremony, introduced the judges.

“This year, because we were celebrating the arts, we decided that we would involve professionals at Fredonia State,” said Diana Carpus, pageant director. The judges, seniors at SUNY Fredonia working on stage, theater, dance and arts were: Allison McCarthy, Ted Sharon, Nakiya Peterkin, Brandon Hylton, Alexandra Miron and Jaclyn Rahmlow.

After the judges were introduced, the girls began to prove just how talented they were. The 21 girls were separated into three groups: Little Miss Festival, Jr. Miss Festival and Miss Festival. They danced, played and sang to songs such as Radioactive by Imagine Dragons, Cups from Pitch Perfect, Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine among many others. Afterwards, the girls modeled party dresses and evening gowns.

After an intermission, the winners of last year, Little Miss Festival Abigale Rice, Jr. Miss Festival Emma Rice and Miss Festival Katelyn Whitford performed for the crowd before reading their farewell speeches.

Before the crowning ceremony, a fond farewell was given to Carpus, who would be stepping down as pageant director this year.

“I did it for about 14 or 15 years back in the 1980s through the 1990s before taking a break, and this is my third year (since coming back), so probably about 18 years,” said Carpus when asked how long she had been the pageant director.

The crowning ceremony then began and the past winners handed out the trophies and medals to all the winners of the festival.

The ceremony started with the awards for the winners of the Grape Festival story, Crystal Tirone, Alexis Murawski and Emily Wright. Then the trophy for Miss Congeniality was given out to Tehya Marr, Murawski and Wright. The Judges Interview Award went to Amber Lockwood, Hanna Walsh and Wright. Genevieve Balestrieri, Murawski and Jasmine Love all won the poise and appearance. The Living Legacy Award, which was given in honor of Chuck Rose – the past Grape Festival President, was bestowed upon Makayla Press and Auror Tirone.

The winner for Little Miss Festival was Genevieve Balestrieri, with Amber Lockwood as the first runner-up, Chloe Budziszewski as second runner-up and Ceci Jordan third runner-up. Danielle Sullivan, Emma Forthman, Makayla Press, Tehya Marr and Crystal Tirone were all awarded the Participation Runner-Up award.

Alexis Murawski won Jr. Miss Festival, with Aurora Tirone as first runner-up and Hanna Walsh second runner-up. Cheyenna Kiley, Sarah Charry and Sabrina Seneca were bestowed the Participation Runner-Up award.

Gabriella Lockwood won Miss Festival, with Emily Wright as first runner-up and Emily Wills second runner-up. Destinie Contreras, Taylor Piccolo and Jasmine Love were presented the Participation Runner-Up award.

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