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Miss Poulsbo crowns its 50th year

BREMERTON — Military personnel. Teachers. College students. A pastor. Even a mayor.

That’s what just some former Miss Poulsbos are doing with their lives.

And tonight, that group will add yet another personality to the mix as the Miss Poulsbo/Miss Kitsap Pageant takes place at Bremerton High School. The 50th young woman to wear the Miss Poulsbo crown will be named at the 5 p.m. ceremony, as will the second Miss Kitsap since the Miss America-affiliated program revived the contest after a 15-year hiatus.

Thirteen women, ages 18-24, are vying for the crowns — five for Miss Poulsbo and nine for Miss Kitsap.

The young women chosen as the 2004 Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap tonight will represent their areas in the Miss Washington Pageant in June, the winner from which advances to the Miss America Pageant.

Besides the chance to move on in the pageant circuit, contestants will also be vying for about $18,200 in scholarships. Both Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap receive $5,000, the runners-up in both categories receive $1,000, all non-finalists receive $400 and the rest is given to individuals in several categories.

But possibly more important, the two crowned tonight will join a proud local tradition of pageantry that spans generations of women. At least 60 former Miss Kitsaps and Miss Poulsbos will be in attendance for this golden anniversary celebration.

“It’s going to be a full house and a lot of shining tiaras in that room,” said Michele Nilsen-Wasson of the Miss Poulsbo organization.

The theme for this year’s pageant is “50 Years Mentoring Young Women” and the festivities will take attendees from the 1950s through present day through song and dance.

Miss Kitsap Maria Knox, Miss Poulsbo 2002 Kristen Eddings and Miss Poulsbo 2001 Jeanna Osteller will begin the festivities with a medley including songs like “At the Hop” and “Blue Suede Shoes.” The 13 contestants for the two titles will join them in ‘50s outfits of their own design.

“It’s very ‘Grease’ — very fun,” Wasson commented. “They’ve really enjoyed picking out their outfits because it’s their personality and everybody loves the ‘50s for music and clothes.”

The three will continue tour of the decades with a Beach Boys medley featuring performances by the Miss Poulsbo/Miss Kitsap Little Sisters and contestants and a Supremes tribute. Knox will also give a dance performance to Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” with last year’s Miss Kitsap first runner-up and this year’s choreographer Diosa Werner.

“Our ode to disco,” Wasson said with a laugh.

Before the two titleholders are crowned, all of the former Miss Poulsbos and Miss Kitsaps in attendance will be asked to gather on the stage for a retrospect of the program’s 50 years.

“It’s been fun finding out where everybody is and it’s neat to see what each young lady’s experience was,” Wasson said of preparations for tonight’s pageant. “Every experience is ad unique as they all are.”

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