Malvern Daily Record

Ms. Brickfest Pageant returns

- By Virginia Pitts Staff Writer

Brickfest 2022 is returning to Malvern June 24-25, and along with it comes the anticipate­d return of the annual Miss Brickfest Pageant, taking place June 10-11 in the Family Life Center at First Baptist Church.

Miss Brickfest Pageant Director Andrea Emerson is a former contestant, and has been a pageant coach, and judge of numerous competitio­ns. Her involvemen­t in this year’s Miss Brickfest Pageant is extra special and meaningful because Emerson was the very first Miss Brickfest, winning the crown in July 1985. She gladly said yes when asked to take charge of this year’s event.

“I was the first Miss Brickfest. It’s in my heart,” Emerson said. “When I was approached with the idea, I said, ‘Well of course.’“

Emerson said the Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority used to oversee the pageant, but turned it over to the Brickfest organizers this year. The pageant has not taken place since 2019, so Emerson and associates are eager to get back into the swing of things and provide lasting memories for another generation of young women who choose to compete.

“This pageant has been around for over 30 years, so it’s had a good, long run until COVID came along and kind of messed everything up, a little bit,” Emerson said. “And bringing it back, it’s kind of like bringing the glitz and the glamour back to something that’s been around town and part of Brickfest for so long.”

Emerson participat­ed in the 1985 competitio­n with her best friend at the time and enjoyed the experience immensely.

“Competitio­n is great. It’s something I did when I was growing up…it’s fun, for one thing,” Emerson said. “And that’s what we want, to try to make sure that it is a great

experience, and everyone has a good time.”

“You know, when I was in that pageant, my best friend and I were in it together. Sometimes, that’s what friends do,” Emerson said. “It’s a memory- making thing, especially if you’re able to share an experience like that with your best friends or family.”

She said those memories are dear to her now because that friend, Regina Smoke, passed away in 2011.

“The girls that come through and compete could be sharing this experience with some very important people in their lives,” Emerson said. “That’s important to me, to help cultivate those memories with the competitor­s.”

Emerson will get the opportunit­y to work closely during this year’s pageant with her current best friend, 2022 Brickfest board member and reigning Miss Hot Spring County, Angela Sexton, to organize this year’s pageant festivitie­s and arrangemen­ts for the contestant­s.

“You know, a hometown pageant is a big deal because that’s one of the hardest things to do in any kind of, even a sport, you’re getting up in front of your peers, your hometown crowd, and it’s a very difficult thing sometimes to do that,” Emerson said. “Some people may feel that they have certain expectatio­ns and you’ve got to perform well, and that adds to the pressure of things.”

“It’s not the easiest thing for young girls to get up there and do,” Emerson said, “But there’s a lot of good things that come from pageantry and promoting the developmen­t.” She said performing in the pageants is a great way to encourage young women to step outside their comfort zones and be active in the community.

“It can be so much fun, it can be a great experience and something that you take with you, and you learn from,” Emerson said. “I’m truly blessed to have the opportunit­y to be part of it again like this.”

Emerson said The 2022 Miss Brickfest Pageant is now open for registrati­on and will take place June 10 and 11 at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center.

“It’s an open pageant, so it’s not just restricted to the surroundin­g area. Anyone from anywhere in the state can enter,” Emerson said. She said the pageant will feature five age divisions, a photogenic category, and a Community Service Award.

Emerson said there will be a party dress/ evening gown competitio­n, interview competitio­ns for the two oldest age divisions, and an onstage question for all contestant­s.

The three youngest age groups will compete June 11 around 2 p. m., and the Teen and Miss competitio­ns will begin later that evening, tentativel­y set for 6 p. m., but she said those times could be adjusted before the weekend of the pageant.

Emerson said some great local singing talent will also perform during the event and will be announced soon.

The theme for this year’s pageant is “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, a throwback to the first Miss Brickfest Pageant in 1985.

“The very first pageant, the emcee of the pageant, Don Butler, performed ‘ Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Emerson said.

The theme is also a nod to the renovation currently happening at the Historic Ritz Theatre downtown.

“We thought that it would be really cool with the Ritz Theatre in town, because that theatre has been there forever and ever and ever, actually more years than I’ve been alive,” Emerson said. “To revive the glitz and glamour, especially with the new marquee, and it’s beautiful, it is just the neatest thing.”

Emerson said they have added a $ 250 cash award this year and extended the age categories as follows ( age requiremen­ts pertain to age on the day of the pageant):

Little Miss ( Ages 3- 5) Petite Miss ( Ages 6- 8) Junior Miss ( Ages 9- 12) Teen ( Ages 13- 16) Miss ( Ages 17- 22) Contestant­s will also have the chance to compete in the optional Community Service and Photogenic Award categories. Entry fees are $ 30 for the age categories, an additional $ 10 for the Photogenic category, and no additional fees for the Community Service Award considerat­ion.

“We are going to have a Meet and Greet June 5th at ASU Three Rivers,” Emerson said. “Whoever is going to compete should come that day,” Emerson said, adding that the date coincides with the end of school, and she understand­s people may be busy or unavailabl­e.

“We would love everybody to be able to be there that is going to compete in the pageant, but if you can’t be there that day, no problem, just make sure that all of the entry forms and fees are mailed in,” Emerson said.

Emerson said the pageant entry forms include the exact rules and requiremen­ts and can be accessed by visiting http:// www. malvernbri­ckfest. com/ or clicking a link on the Miss Brickfest Pageant Facebook page and printing out the forms.

They can also be picked up at schools in Arkadelphi­a, Bismarck, Lakeside, Magnet Cove, Malvern, and Ouachita, or at Cute AF in Malvern.

Contestant­s should mail all entry forms and correspond­ence to: Miss Brickfest, P. O. Box 1138, Malvern, AR 72104. Emerson said she will arrange to pick up forms if necessary and that fees can be paid via cash, checks, or money order if paid before June 5. The last day to enter the Miss Brickfest Pageant is June 8.

Emerson said Pilcher Posey Photograph­y will be available to contestant­s on the day of competitio­n, June 11. Forms for the photograph­er packets can also be found at http:// www. malvernbri­ckfest. com/ or on the Miss Brickfest Pageant Facebook page.

Call or text Emerson at 501- 815- 2482, Sexton at 501- 622- 7680, or email missbrickf­est@ gmail. com with any questions.

 ?? Photo by Special to the MDR ??
Photo by Special to the MDR

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