Past Ms. Altamont winner says competition is all about confidence

If there's anything that current Ms. Altamont Heather DeSarbo, 23, from Guilderland would like you to know about the Ms. Altamont fair pageant, it's that one, it's not a beauty contest, and two, you don't have to be the most outgoing girl in the world to hold the crown.

I was the No. 1 person for being shy, she said. " But it was a great way to overcome my fears and express myself."

According to Bobby Jean June, the pageant coordinator whose daughters have all held crowns, building the confidence of girls and young women is exactly what the competition was created for.

"It's not a big fancy pageant. We want the girls to be proud of who they are," she said, noting that the pageant is not a beauty competition.

On Sunday, Aug. 12, competition begins for girls from the five age group categories, from ages 5 to those over 22. They are Little Miss Altamont Fair, ages 5-7; Young Miss Altamont Fair, ages 8-11; Junior Miss Altamont Fair, 12-15; Miss Altamont Fair, 16-21; and Ms. Altamont Fair, ages 22 and older. Once they take the stage after undergoing a one-on-one interview, they will be judged on their poise, ability to follow directions, stage presence, and the ability to communicate with the public .

The girls also showcase their personality by choosing outfits they will model during the sportswear and eveningwear competitions on Aug. 14, when the winners for all categories are crowned.

Although the competition itself was nerve-wracking, DeSarbo said that once she was crowned last year, her confidence soared, and she felt almost like a princess. The winners of the pageant received a rhinestone tiara, flowers, a trophy and a cash award, and get to make special appearances for the remainder of the fair. They are announced onstage before most of the entertainment acts, present ribbons and prizes to fair competition winners, visit vendors, and continue the fair's tradition of serving the giant ice cream sundae to earn money for charity.

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