Friday, May 1, 2015
Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival Queen to be crowned tomorrow
|Pageant finalists Barbara Dubois, Ingrid Freeman and Rachel Webb|
Tomorrow, one of three finalists will be crowned Queen of the Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival Beauty Pageant at the recently completed Yoknapatawpha County Convention Center.
The young ladies vying for the honor are: Barbara Dubois and Ingrid Freeman, both 23, and Rachel Webb, 24. The finalists were selected from a field of thirteen after five days of competition.
Competition is tight, but there are some favorites. "They're all so pretty and talented, but I really hope Barbara Dubois wins," said Billie Jo Jones, age seven, who is attending the pageant as a fan and who hopes to someday enter competition herself.
"She's been following pageants — and especially Barbara — for years," said Billie Jo's mother, Mary. "And I've always been a loyal supporter of Barbara in whatever she does. We're rooting for her."
"May the best woman get what she deserves," said Denny Buchanan, who described himself simply as "a fan of pageants."
Allie Lamar, pageant sponsor and owner of Lamar Cosmetics, is more than proud of the event. "This is a dream come true, not only a chance to reward our best and brightest with scholarships and other prizes, but to shine a national spotlight on Oxford, Mississippi."
"It will be just great," said Bill Lamar, Executive Vice President of Lamar Cosmetics' European operations who flew in for the pageant from the corporation's Paris office.
The finalists will celebrate their achievements thus far at a gala dinner to be held tonight at the Yoknapatawpha County Convention Center, where the first annual pageant is taking place. Each of the young ladies is excited to be part of history and looks forward to tomorrow's announcement.
"Only one of us can win," says Barbara Dubois, "but each of us is already a winner." Similar sentiments are shared by the two other finalists.
Ingrid Freeman said the trophy would be a secondary prize to the "deep bonds of friendship that we've forged here this week."
Rachel Webb added. "I've become a better person because of this experience."
Erma Webb, Rachel's mother, agreed. "My daughter has really grown from this competition, and I'm sure she'll remember all my sacrifices and do what she needs to do to be outstanding and win this final round."
The pageant has not been without its detractors. Several Festival board members voiced their concerns that the beauty pageant would cheapen the festival, despite the board's decision to move forward.
"Lamar Cosmetics and the pageant bring both beauty and financial support to our festival," said Walbert Dopelson, Festival Director.
Others have questioned whether Lamar Cosmetics was the best possible sponsor.
"There will always be people who want to tear down anything positive, "said Dopelson. "Those who say beauty is only skin deep are themselves usually mean all the way to the bone."