McAfee earns Miss Viking Fest crown

POULSBO — For Miss Viking Fest, representing today’s youth and the North Kitsap community is an incredible opportunity, especially since riding in fashionable Miata convertibles for festivities and parades is part of the job description.

However, like most good things, it doesn’t come without a catch.

This year, for the sixth annual Miss Viking Fest competition, 10 contestants faced the rigorous pageant process leading up to Saturday’s final night of judgment.

In the end, with six judges looking on and bright spotlights shining, Kayla McAfee was named Miss Viking Fest 2005 and Kaylee Ross and Jessica Hanna took honors as princesses.

“I am so surprised,” said McAfee. “It was such a good experience. I like all the girls and I am really glad I did this.”

Amongst the many friends who crowded around McAfee to give their congratulations was pageant committee member Dayna Holser, who chided with the new Miss Viking Fest about the “real reason” why she took top honors.

“It was the undies and see-through dress we didn’t tell you about!” Holser joked to McAfee’s wide eyes and laughter.

Although her dress was nowhere near transparent, she did get high marks in the evening gown round of the competition.

McAfee, a junior at North Kitsap High School and aspiring actress, also won the Directors Award for most improved during the week of the pageant.

Miss Viking Fest Princess Ross was all over the award charts. Not only taking home plaques for the most in ticket sales, scholarship achievement and best speech, she was also presented with the Doug McKay scholarship.

“Kaylee was so passionate in the way she displayed herself. It was surprising and I appreciate that,” said Sherry McKay, Doug McKay’s widow, in a heartfelt speech honoring her husband.

After receiving many laughs from her humorous speech and grandmother costume, Ross said she really enjoyed participating in the pageant.

“Halfway through I knew I just had to throw away any bit of embarrassment,” Ross said. “I went out with confidence and had a good time.”

Miss Viking Fest Princess Hanna also won over the crowd with her speech, impromptu answers and community involvement.

Concerned about suicide awareness, Hanna has become deeply involved with a Lifesavers organization to support fellow students and teens who might be struggling through hard times.

Reigning royalty from all over the county attended to cheer on this year’s Miss Viking Fest and the two princesses. Among them was this year’s, Miss Poulsbo, Janna Murray, who as a sophomore at North Kitsap High School, won the Miss Viking Fest pageant in 2001.

“Janna really wanted to come back in her bunad tonight to support the girls who were running,” said Lynda Nilsen, board member for the Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap pageants.

“I really hold this in a special place in my heart,” said Murray, taking her own pageant experiences into account. “I wouldn’t want to be one of the judges, it is such a hard decision to make.”

Lauren Hoffman, last year’s Miss Viking Fest, agreed.

“There are so many girls that are so diverse. It is such a difficult decision. I wanted them all to win,” said Hoffman, “I see them run through and nail their speeches but it is so nerve-wracking with all the lights and attention.”

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