Miss Central Pennsylvania Scholarship Pageant has grown from humble roots

LEWISTOWN – The annual Miss Central Pennsylvania Scholarship Pageant has had a long rich history in Mifflin County, starting with the Burnham Lions Club.

John Metzger, executive director of the pageant, said the Burnham Lions Club started a pageant during their Fall Foliage Festival in 1970.

“The pageant was started, but after low turnouts the pageant switched hands in 1977 when it became the Miss Tri-County Pennsylvania Pageant,” Metzger said. “I have been involved with the pageant since it was run by the Lions, and with some others took over the pageant when it changed names and have not left since.”

It was not until 1993 that the pageant became the Miss Central Pennsylvania Scholarship Pageant, and not until 2006 did the Miss Central Outstanding Teen division of the pageant begin. Metzger said the girls who compete in this pageant are only two pageants away from the Miss America pageant.

“A contestant in our pageant only has to place in the top three to go to the Miss Pennsylvania pageant,” Metzger said. “Then once there, all they have to do is win there and they are on their way to the Miss America pageant.”

Metzger said with this pageant, being part of the not-for-profit Miss America pageant system, allows more of a variety of girls to compete because the fees are based on raising funds, and pageant fees are only assessed on the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant. Metzger added it is cheaper than participating in some other national pageants like the Miss USA pageant. While there is no entry fee for the pageant, all contestants in the Miss Central Pennsylvania pageant must raise $100 for the Children’s Miracle Network. Contestants in the Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen pageant have an entry fee of $100 and they have a goal to raise money for CMN with a suggested goal of $100. The amount of money that needs to be raised varies from the local, state and national competitions, but it is a requirement for the qualifying pageants associated with the Miss America pageant.

The pageant has three distinct phases of competition that vary slightly between the Miss Central Pennsylvania and the Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen divisions. The Miss Central Pennsylvania judging consists of interview, talent, evening wear and on-stage question, and lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit. The judging for the Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen pageant is very similar except the teens compete in the lifestyle and fitness in sports wear.

Metzger said judges are supposed to look for Miss America first when judging the pageant, then look for Miss Pennsylvania, followed by a person who has ties to the local community who could be available for appearances when needed.

“After the judges have their top five, in competition order, they are supposed to pick a person who best represents the ideals of Miss America,” he said. “Then points are awarded for the top five placings- 10 points for the top, five for the second, three for the third, two for the fourth, and one for the fifth.”

Metzger said he is excited about the contestants entered in this year’s pageant. He said he believes it is going to be a more competitive competition, with no clear winner.

The Miss Central Pennsylvania and Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen pageants will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Mifflin County Middle School. Tickets will be sold at the door; the cost is: adults, $20; senior citizens, $15; students with school ID, $15; children age 7 to 12, $10, and children under age 6 are free.