By MIKE CHAIKEN
There will be two new representatives in the Miss America Organization crowned this weekend.
But the two days worth of events to declare the next Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen is about more than just finding two young women to represent the Nutmeg State at the national competition.
The Miss Connecticut preliminaries and finals and the Miss Connecticut Outstanding Teen competition also offer a good opportunity for audiences looking to be entertained.
This year’s events will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford Friday and Saturday. There will be 20 contestants vying for a chance to succeed the current Miss Connecticut, Wolcott’s Alyssa Taglia. There will be 18 contestants competing for Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen. The current teen titleholder is Samantha Anderson of Wolcott.
“It is a pageant,” said pageant’s executive director Nakiya Troth of Bristol, “but it is also a show.”
“The talent and intelligence that is brought to the stage will blow your mind,” said Troth. “We have world champion dancers in tap, jazz, and Irish step, and vocalists who have toured the country. We also have some very unique and amazing talents such as speed painting.”
“Our Prince and Princess Camp participants will be performing for us as well,” said Troth.
“It is definitely a family friendly show with something for all ages,” said Troth.
This is the first year in Hartford for the Miss Connecticut competitions, and Troth said, the new location allows the organization to “provide an excellent opportunity to create a really fun night out in the city.
Taking the podium as hosts this year are Forever Miss Connecticut 2002, Tanisha Brito-Chea, said Troth. “She will be co-emcee with Dana Rosengard, a long time MAO volunteer and supporter. Both have amazing experience on stage and have supported our program tremendously over the years.”
One of the biggest changes for the pageant, as noted is the location in the state’s capital. Last year, the pageant was held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville. Prior to that, the pageant was held at the Garde Arts Center in New London for many years.
Troth explained, “When I became executive director of the organization a year and half ago, it was important to me that we listen to our supporters and followers. We loved our years at both the Garde Arts Center and Mohegan Sun, however bringing the pageant to a centralized location will provide us more exposure and support across the state of Connecticut.”
“The venue is dynamic and the show will be too,” said Troth. “We are excited to, once again, award over $30,000 in scholarships to our 2017 contestants.”
At the end of the evening, after the last toe is swept across the floor, the last musical note is sounded, and the last drop of paint is applied to a canvas, two new representatives—a Miss and a teen will have been crowned by the Miss Connecticut organization. From there, the new Outstanding Teen will compete in the national event in Orlando in July. The new Miss Connecticut will be heading to Atlantic City in New Jersey in September to seek the Miss America crown.
Troth said Connecticut residents should support the winners as their journey continues fro the next year.
“Service is one of the greatest pillars of the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization. Though the winners of the pageant will move on to compete in their respective national pageants… their focus for the year will be to serve the state of Connecticut in many different aspects,” said Troth.
“They will serve as ambassadors for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (whose local institution is Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford) and participate in hundreds of community events throughout their reign,” said the state’s executive director. “We cannot wait to see the impact these young woman make, not only on the national stage, but also throughout the great state of Connecticut.”
Local representatives competing are Miss Forestville Erika Farrell, Miss Bristol Gina Salvatore, Miss Southington Bridget Oei, Miss Forestville’s Outstanding Teen Cassandra Lechner, Miss Bristol’s Outstanding Teen Victoria Kilbourne, Miss Southington’s Outstanding Teen Ava Onofreo, and Miss Plantsville’s Outstanding Teen Taylor Plourd (of Bristol).
Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen scholarship competitions will be held Friday and Saturday at the Connecticut Convention Center on Columbus Boulevard, Hartford. The Miss preliminary competition is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The Outstanding Teen competition is at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The crowning of the teens and the Miss Connecticut finals is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information about all of the contestants, go to MissCTAmerica.org
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN