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Viking Fest crown seeking hopefuls

POULSBO — First, Viking Fest picked its logo.

Now, it’s on the hunt for its queen.

Once again, it’s time for young women ages 16-18 in the North Kitsap area to consider throwing their hats into the ring to join the Miss Viking Fest Court. The annual pageant is a scholarship opportunity for local women from the Viking Fest Corporation, the organizer of the annual Viking Fest celebration. Miss Viking Fest and the two Viking Fest princesses preside over the Syttende Mai event as well as represent Poulsbo at events throughout the state.

“It’s a fun year of traveling around Washington and meeting people and having a good time,” commented Miss Viking Fest pageant director Kari McKinsey of the title.

Starting Feb. 2, application packets will be available at the North Kitsap High School counseling center, First Security Bank and www.vikingfest.org. Those interested in becoming contestants need to turn in their completed packets at a parent informational meeting that is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Poulsbo Sons of Norway. Orientation for contestants will be held March 8.

Besides getting to wear the traditional crown and bunad, the pageant also affords contestants the chance at scholarship money. Last year, Miss Viking Fest Lauren Hoffman received $1,000 while princesses Jessica Endresen and Crystal Henderson received $500 each.

“The scholarships are a great part of this competition,” McKinsey said. “Every bit helps when you’re trying to pay for college.”

Endresen was also the winner of the first-ever $1,000 Doug McKay memorial scholarship last year, which is named after the co-owner of Paradise Amusements, who was killed in a carnival accident in 2003. Because McKay was known for his community involvement, the Viking Fest Committee added a community service-oriented scholarship to the pageant. McKinsey said that scholarship will again be part of the Miss Viking Fest competition this year.

The 6th Annual Miss Viking Fest Pageant will take place at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.) April 23 at Christ Memorial Church in Poulsbo. The theme for this year’s pageant will be “Secret Garden” and will be a whimsical tribute to spring, complete with flowers, picket fences and garden gazebos.

Contestants will be judged on an interview, impromptu question, a speech about Viking Fest and evening gown competition. The speeches replace the traditional talent competition that many local pageants require so no musical, theatrical or dance training is required of applicants.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for young girls,” McKinsey said of the competition. “It opens doors to help them with self esteem, stage presence and public speaking skills.”

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