And the Crown Goes To
Zionsville to Host 13th Annual Miss Indiana Pageant June 14-17.
Writer / Kara Kavensky
The Miss Indiana pageant has evolved since its inception. While early records are fuzzy, documentation commences in the early 1900s and took a hiatus during World War II, with consistency since the end of the war in 1945.
While the location for the Miss Indiana Pageant has changed over the years, this will be the 13th year Zionsville has hosted the event. Since 2005, Zionsville has celebrated the state’s road to Miss America with dinners, a parade, competition and many other events culminating in the Miss Indiana finals on the Saturday night of pageant week.
Even though Zionsville played host, it did not have its own event for local contestants. A few community members approached (then) Zionsville Town Council member and Lions Club member, Dr. Jeff Papa, to help remedy that. In 2011, Papa founded the Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen pageant, held in conjunction with the Lions Club Fall Festival, as part of the Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.
“It made sense for Boone County to host its own local competition to increase awareness and involvement,” says Papa, who has served on the Zionsville Town Council and served as the first Mayor of Zionsville.
“Deciding to hold the Outstanding Teen pageant during the Fall Festival, which is the largest fundraising effort of the year for the Zionsville Lions Club, made sense in a lot of ways with attention drawn to the event,” says Louanne Giralte, Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen Director.
The decision was made to have the Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen pageant be a “closed” pageant, meaning its only open to local young women living in Boone County.
“This seemed the most logical filing for the competition based upon increasing local awareness of the pageant system,” Papa says.
Gail Robbins, President of the Zionsville Lions Club, has helped with the Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen and with Miss Indiana Week in various capacities since it began.
“The addition of the Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen pageant to our Fall Festival has helped the community feel more a part of Miss Indiana Week,” she says.
The Miss Indiana program engages girls and boys of ages 5-12 through participation in the non-competitive Prince & Princess Camp. Pre-teens, age 10-12 can sign up for Pre-teen Princess Camp to learn more about becoming a contestant. The competitive levels for young women begin with Teen (ages 13-17), and the Miss (ages 17-24) pageant.
“We have our largest number of contestants ever competing this year,” says Aren Straiger, Executive Director of the Miss Indiana Scholarship Pageant. “Zionsville is so good to us! Most of our food donors are local caterers and restaurants in the area. The Miss contestants will visit the Zionsville Lions, Lebanon Elks Lodge and the Boys and Girls Club, while our Teen contestants visit the R.O.C.K. Program at Zionsville United Methodist Church.
On Saturday of the Miss Indiana Week, the Main Street Parade takes place through Zionsville. The contestants get to ride in convertibles through the town, followed by an autograph session in Boone Village.
“This offers the young women an opportunity to meet the community and encourages Zionsville residents to buy tickets,” Straiger says. “I believe we have the best entertainment for the price, which is affordable. These women are so talented, well-spoken and are wonderful role models.”
All participants in the pageant raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network benefiting Riley Hospital for Children.
For more information, please visit missindiana.org.