The Minden Civitans hosted the annual Fair Queen Pageant Saturday at Minden High School.
There were six contestants in the pageant. Jordan Shepherd, Raleigh Prince, Mackenzie Swilley, Madeline Bethea, Kennedy Dent, and Emily Self were the participants. Contestants are chosen by their schools, they must display leadership, be well respected, and have a grade point average of 3.5 or above.
Minden High School senior Madeline Bethea was the winner. First runner up and Miss Congeniality was Kennedy Dent, second runner up was Mackenzie Swilley.
The Fair Queen holds a seat of honor in the Fair parade, announces winners of all livestock shows, rides with citizens of the community who have special needs at the fair, and calls bingo at the senior citizen day Bingo Breakfast. The Fair queen also receives a cash scholarship.
The pageant began in the 1950’s when a young lady’s name would be pulled out of a hat. It has developed into a full pageant with a fitness, casual wear, evening gown, and interview competition. The money raised from the pageant goes toward Civitan Santa which gives Christmas presents to children of families in need. Locally, the Civitans service over 400 children every year and spend more than $6000 raised from events like the fair pageant, the Webster Parish fair, and donations from the community. The Civitans also help with the Special Olympics and focus on helping people with developmental disabilities. Civitans International, The Lions Club, and the Evening Lions Club work together to host the fair every year. The profits go to these three organizations to help the Webster Parish community.
Mazy Lee who was the 2017 Fair Queen said, “Most of my duties lay during fair week but that was the busiest week of my life. I have so many fun stories, especially from Special Needs day. We got to work with the kids and men and women in the Special Needs programs around town and they came and rode the rides at the fair and also got to get out of school, which is so much fun and they were so excited about that. I also handed out all the awards at the livestock shows so I would be there all night long. It was a ton of fun though. Also one day that week they do a bingo breakfast for the senior citizens at the armory building and we call bingo and serve breakfast. That was a lot of fun too. That’s where my duties lay last year and whoever gets crowned, that’s what they’ll be doing next week.”
Madeline Bethea has received the Prudential Spirit of Community award, is member of the Louisiannes Dance Line, and is student council secretary at Minden High School. She also started two organizations to help others.
“I’m interested in developing relationships in the community of Minden. I’m always looking for ways to give back to the community. I hope I can use this title to further my projects, Stuffed with Love and Meme’s Memories,” Bethea said. “I am most looking forward to seeing the livestock entries and of course, the food.”
Bethea has been helping others in her community since she was a young child. She has started two projects that help others.
“Stuffed with love is a community service project I started when I was 5 years old. I take new and used stuffed animals to nursing homes and hospitals. To date I have given over 40,000 stuffed animals,” Bethea explained, “Meme’s memories is a new project that was created in memory of my grandmother who died with Alzheimer’s disease. I’m creating fidget blankets, which have buttons and zippers on them to help with the fidgeting that Alzheimer’s patients do.”
The pageant interview question pulled by Bethea was, “If you could give advice to a freshman about high school what would it be?”
Bethea answered, “I would definitely tell the freshman, take every advantage that you can of all the time that you have here because it really does go by fast and you can’t get this time back in highschool. I really realize that this year.”
Upon graduation she plans to attend LSU in Baton Rouge, major in biology and eventually pursue a doctorate in dental studies and become an orthodontist.