By MIKE CHAIKEN
Each year, the Bristol Mum Festival opens its festivities by crowning a new Miss Mum and new Junior Miss Mum. It’s a tradition that goes back decades for the annual festival.
But it’s a tradition, at least for this year, has experienced a hiccup.
Last Wednesday, the festival posted on its Facebook page, “It is with great sadness that we officially announce that there will not be a Miss Mum/ Junior Miss Mum Pageant this year. We hope that this program will be revived next year so that young girls can experience the journey and excitement of holding such a wonderful title.”
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough contestants,” explained Kristina Mazzone Duarte, who co-chaired the Miss Mum pageant with her mother Dina Mazzone. “My mom and I hate having to do this because Miss Mum is a tradition and part of the Mum Festival. But like all other pageants, we have rules and guidelines that we need to follow in order to run the pageant and those guidelines were not met.”
Darlene Sawe, the president of the Mum Festival, said, “It is a great loss to both the Mum Festival and all the organizations that the girls helped over the years. Our pageant wasn’t about beauty but about volunteering and helping others.”
“Dina and Kristina did a wonderful job over the years and so did all the girls that represented us,” said Sawe.
Asked to speculate on why the numbers were down this year, Duarte said, “I’m not sure why we didn’t have enough but it could be because there are too many girls with crowns in the Bristol area and people are unsure of the differences between them.”
In addition to the Miss Mum and Junior Miss Mum, there are the representatives of the Miss America Organization—Miss Bristol, Miss Forestville, Miss Bristol’s Outstanding Teen, Miss Forestville’s Outstanding Teen, and Miss Plainville’s Outstanding Teen—in addition to the junior pageant representatives of the Miss Bristol-Forestville pageant.
“Maybe this pageant needs to be gone in order to be missed,” said Duarte. “We truly hope that it can start up again next year.”
As for the confusion among the assorted crowns, Duarte said, “People should be asking questions about the differences between the Bristol pageants and become educated about them before making assumptions.”
“Our past Miss Mums and Junior. Miss Mums have set such high standards in the community and have started many programs, said Duarte. “My mom and I couldn’t have been happier to work with each of those girls and that’s why it’s so upsetting (to have to cancel). Hopefully, it’ll be back next year.”
The Miss Mum crowning was an integral part of the opening ceremonies. After the winners were selected, they would stand beside the mayor and the Mum Festival Committee to cut the ceremonial ribbon to start the festival.
Without the crowning, how will the festival be launched?
“I’m not sure about opening ceremonies yet,” said Sawe. “But we will have to do it on Saturday at the start of the festival.”
The Mum Festival will not be devoid of a representative within the community, however, Sawe said.
“We do still have a Hometown Hero (this year, it’s Tim Gamache) that I know will represent us well,” said Sawe.
However, Sawe said, “I am very sad that our pageant wasn’t seen for what it was all about, community service and giving back. I think people viewed it as just another beauty pageant.”
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.
By MIKE CHAIKEN