NEW BERLIN – For more than 50 years, the New Berlin Youth Days has been considered a staple for the area, emphasizing fun, family and community. As is the case each year, the weekend’s events kicked-off Thursday night with the 52nd annual Miss Youth Days Pageant held at the Unadilla Valley Central School auditorium.
Fourteen females ages 5-18 donned gowns and their mothers’ - or other family member’s - jewelry and took to the stage bringing style, confidence and poise.
Master of Ceremonies Gene Chilion attested the pageant is not about winning or losing, but it is in place to help the children and young ladies foster their public speaking and communication skills.
“Every one of you here are champs,” Chilion said.
The contestants were judged on their presentation, appearance, personality, and an interview conducted by Chilion. This year’s volunteer judges included Deb Harris, Cynthia Thompsen, and Heather Dunham.
Approximately 50 family members, friends, and area residents intently watched the pageant unfold. Interview answers from the children caused some in attendance to become teary-eyed.
Three categories separate the ladies: Little Miss Youth Days, Junior Miss Youth Days and Miss Youth Days. Each contestant was asked to state her name, age and where she lived. Each was then asked by Chilion if she had any siblings, family or friends in the audience. Each contestent was also asked about their pets, grades in school, and several other related questions.