Dear Editor,

The 47th Miss Okefenokee Pageant was a success!  I would like to thank everyone who assisted with this community event and has helped to keep it going all these years.  First, I would like to thank the parents and the contestants.  Without your continued support we could not hold the Miss Okefenokee Pageant.  We had 89 contestants this year, which is the most we have had in several years.  I hope it continues to grow.  I noticed children of many young ladies who entered the pageant years ago continuing the tradition.   Thank you for your support.    

Thank you to the City of Folkston for delivering our decorations.  A huge thank you to Bubba Smith and Gary McGowan for working hard to get some lighting issues addressed before the pageant and to Hampton Raulerson and the County Commissioners for the use of the auditorium.   

A big thank you to the Georgia Forestry of Charlton County.  They set up a table and handed out fire prevention information to adults and stickers, rulers and pencils to the children.  They also brought along Smokey Bear to assist with the crowning, photographs and to celebrate his birthday.  Thank you Smokey for joining us.  

Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Glenn Taylor for the use of your bear as a stage decoration.  He was a hit. 

Thank you Donna Nance and Craig Phillips for the wonderful job of handling the “Master of Ceremonies” responsibilities.  We certainly appreciate you stepping up and doing such a wonderful job.  Thank you.

To the merchants who contributed to the “Queen’s Goody Bags”, thank you for your donations.  This is just a little added extra for our “Queens”.  Those contributing were:  Jared Cardwell and FNB South, Wendy Hernandez-Daughter’s Barn, State Farm, The Flower Shop, Burger King, Heaven to Seven, Charlton County Herald, Newell Lodge, Anytime Fitness, Whistlin’ Dixie and Paisley Peach.   The Flower Shop also provided a beautiful table arrangement for use during the pageant and the judges meals.

Thank you Whistlin’ Dixie and Los 3 Mariachis for the meals served to the judges and pageant workers.  The food was delicious.  

An extra special thank you to the volunteers who worked the admission gate, Wendy Hernandez and Julie Hughes.  These ladies greeted and directed contestants and parents to the locations they needed to be. Thank you to Rose Bailey, who worked the People’s Choice table, and Conner Selph for providing photography during the pageant and pictures for the paper.  Thank you to Gloria Gowen for on stage & back stage help; and Lynn Crews, Chamber Secretary and Ashley Gowen, Chamber Director, for keeping check-in straight and back stage help.  A thank you is not enough for our auditors for the day, Kim Batton, Collien Collins and Mary Kay Linquist.  They had all the eyes on them as they tallied the scores.  You did a great job ladies!  Thank you!  Without all these people we could not have had a successful day.  

Thank you to our judges.  They had a hard job and handled it wonderfully.

Again, thank you to everyone who participated and attended.  We are planning next year already!

Elaine Thornton,

Pageant Director