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One pageant, two crowns up for grabs this year

POULSBO — The Miss Poulsbo Pageant coordinators are trying out a new twist on an old idea in hopes of giving more women from the North Kitsap area a chance at success.

For the 49th year in a row, women ages 17-24 who live in the North Kitsap School District are being sought for the Miss Poulsbo competition. However, organizers are also looking for women from the rest of Kitsap County to compete for the title of Miss Kitsap.

Pageant organizer Michele Wasson said Miss Kitsap was a popular local pageant that used to send its top finisher to the Miss Washington pageant. The winner of that contest goes on to represent Washington in the Miss America Pageant.

Miss Kitsap fizzled in the late 1980s and three years ago the remaining Miss Poulsbo pageant gained affiliation with the Miss America program and began sending its winner to the Miss Washington Pageant.

This year, Miss Poulsbo organizers have revived Miss Kitsap and will hold the pageants simultaneously on March 15 in the Bremerton High School auditorium.

“This year we want to send two women, a Miss Poulsbo and a Miss Kitsap, to Miss Washington and then maybe onto the Miss America Pageant,” Wasson explained. “Miss Poulsbo will still represent Poulsbo in her duties, but this way we can include more young women in our program and give more scholarship money.”

The March 15 pageant will be run just like in years past, including on-stage interview, talent, evening wear and physical fitness/swimsuit portions. Wasson said those judging the competition will make no distinction between Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap contestants when scoring the young ladies. When the final points are tabulated, the top scorer from each group will be crowned Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap respectively. Contestants sign up for each pageant prior to the event.

Wasson said the change may be an adjustment for people who are used to having the Miss Poulsbo competition take place in Little Norway. However, she reiterated that while the competitions take place at the same time, the two crowns remain very different and distinct.

“This is the 49th year for Miss Poulsbo. She wears the Norwegian Bunad so it’s very traditional and we want to keep that tradition,” Wasson remarked. “But we’re really growing such a great program here and a lot of young women are interested in participating in it. We gave away the second most scholarship money in the state last year.”

The crowns and titles will be different, and so will the sponsorships, Wasson added. She explained that many local business people donate toward the Miss Poulsbo Scholarship Fund each year. In 2001, the fund furnished a total of $11,000 in scholarships which were disbursed among all 12 women who competed.

Wasson said organizers hope more donations will come their way, but assured potential donors that their money will stay in their own community.

“The money given toward Miss Poulsbo will go toward Miss Poulsbo and the money given for Miss Kitsap will go toward Miss Kitsap,” she explained. “We’re kind of walking that fine line. In a small town, it’s important to let those people who are so generous with their donations know that we’re acting in the spirit that they want us to be.”

The Miss Poulsbo Pageant is open to women ages 17-24 living in the North Kitsap School District who will be or have been high school graduates by June 2003. The Miss Kitsap Pageant is open to women ages 17-24 who live, work or attend school within Kitsap County, excluding the North Kitsap School District, who will be a high school graduate by June 2003.

Deadline to apply for the pageants is Nov. 25. Applications are available at Nilsen’s Appliance Centers in downtown Poulsbo, Silverdale and Port Orchard.

More information is also available by contacting Executive Director Lynda Nilsen at (360) 779-5918, or misspoulsbo@yahoo.com.

Pageant orientation and rehearsals begin in January.

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