Road trips are so much fun with my children. We chatted, laughed, giggled and sang a few song on our four hour drive only pausing once in awhile for reading directions to the hotel. We stopped along the way to pick up a few items I had forgotten to pack...grown up tooth paste (Colgate princess toothpaste is like brushing your teeth with bubble-gum eew), chocolate, juice, and duct tape. No, not to restrain the children or to keep my mouth shut. Oldest daughter said she needed green duct tape for entertainment value.
We arrived a bit later than I expected (10 PM) and to my surprise this hotel had only one luggage cart...and it was being used at the time. We stopped by the registration table to let the director know we had arrived. She gave Snow White a coupon to pick a out an animal, a wish and stuff it (very similar to Build-A-Bear). Her coupon was for a large animal but she really wanted a small brown bear (bless her sweet little heart). She was very happy with her new little bear! There were matching clothes and things but it was late.
Snow White, Oldest Daughter and I made several trips from the car to the room unloading everything. I know I mentioned we had two large suit cases but we had other things such as a box of coloring books for the Shriners Hospital drive, Snow White's stuffed animal entourage, an Easter basket for the gift exchange, a few gifts to hand out and Oldest Daughter's bags of personal "stuff".
After everything was unloaded I tucked Snow White in to bed and Oldest Daughter turned on the TV to amuse herself while I went down to registration. Yes, they were still registering contestants at 11 PM due to late arrivals such as us. I paid the pageant entry fees, the stage photographer and dropped off the color books. I explained to the director I had just picked up the photos for the poster competition and would bring her the poster as soon as possible. I had no time to look at the photos we just had developed so when I opened the photo envelope I was surprised to see only a few good shots. Although the files were large and looked great when I downloaded the photos to my comp many of them came out grainy! I gave the clearest pictures to her and used some double prints for the poster.
Back at our room Snow White was fast asleep and Oldest Daughter was waiting up for me. Now that I had returned she crawled in to bed. Now on to the poster task. I cut it in the shape of an Easter egg and glued cute little things (flowers, butterflies, pretty shapes, etc.) used for scrap booking. Along the edges of the poster board I glued down light blue satin ruffled ribbon. The photos were framed by pages of pastel stationary I picked up at the local pharmacy earlier in the week. The final effect was actually prettier than I anticipated. Due to the very late hour I was convinced no one would be in the ballroom so I will waited until morning to hand it in. It was 2 AM when the noise from the Lobby disco finally faded and I was able to sleep. Lucky for me Snow White was not due in the ballroom until the afternoon. The 0-4 year olds compete from 9am - Noon, then a lunch break and the 5 and up compete 1 PM until all events are finished.
Morning seemed to come all to quickly and there was only a continental breakfast offered at this hotel. Ugh, not what I am use to but there was a family restaurant just down the driveway from the hotel. I picked up breakfast while the girls slept in a bit. I did tell groggy Oldest Daughter I was going but also wrote out a note just incase she thought she was dreaming during our conversation. When I returned they were both wide awake and too excited to eat. I did manage to get them to eat a bit before we started preparing for the pageant.
After eating there was a little bit of preparation needed for Snow White's hair. Snow White, her sister and I all have naturally curly hair. In order to tame it a bit we needed to put her hair up in hot rollers. I could have put sponge rollers in her hair and let her sleep in them but they would have pulled on her hair during the night and resulted in a very sleepy, cranky Snow White in the morning. It took about 10 minutes to put her hair in the rollers, then she had the rest of the morning to play. We had time to watch a few of the younger contestants on stage and had our lunch.
Although this is a natural pageant, I hired a very nice lady to do her hair which turned out lovely. She enjoyed talking with the lady and her children. Thank goodness this wonderful lady had an iron and ironing board or Snow White would have been wearing a very wrinkled cotton dress. Our room was missing these and no more were available in the hotel that weekend. I ironed Snow White's dress while she was having her hair done.
A little while later it was stage time! We watched the group before her go on and cheered loudly for each of them. Each little girl was asked a few questions and given time to answer. Most of them were a bit shy or did not know what to say, up to this point they were all under 6 years old so this is expected. I asked Snow White how she felt before she went on stage "I'm a little nervous but I can do this!" I told her remember this is all about her having fun. She smiled so big! I gave her a great big hug and kiss!
I staid with her until her age group started and the girl in front of her was half way through her time on stage. Snow White's "big moment" came, they called her name and it was time to answer a few questions. She was not shy at all! She was not afraid to speak up and say all she felt in her heart. Not only did she have the judges laughing but the audience as well! Then she did her Beauty and we ran up to each other at the other side of the stage! I scooped her up in my arms and told her what a super job she did!! She was grinning from ear to ear! I could tell she was very proud of herself.
Not knowing how much time it would take to get ready for her casualwear event or how much time we had before they were back to her group, we quickly skipped off to change (we literally skipped all the way back to the room). On our way to the room she was chattering "Mommy, did you hear them laugh? I was so good and they loved everything I had to say! All those judges smiled at me when I was walking the stage! Thank you for driving us all up here! Thank you!"
She changed outfits quickly and we did a little more hair rolling with a hot curls set. These are just like hot rollers but look like long rods. The thought was since we smoothed out her hair for beauty it would be nice to have the little curls she usually has. I will never, EVER use those THINGS again! They clung to her hair as if they were made of sticky tape! The hair and make up lady made sure Snow White's curls were uniform and pulled it away from her face. I know all of this sounds so simple and you are thinking I could not have done this myself. It is an added relief to have someone else do it. Snow White not only looked great she felt extra special! This was not Mommy doing her hair for school, this was pampering and a special time for her!
As we came closer to the ballroom we could hear the dance music. Snow White and Oldest Daughter bopped all the way down the hall to the ballroom. We arrived in time to watch the group before her and we clapped and cheered for them. At times I think we were a bit too loud but it was ok. When Snow White went to the stage entrance area with her sister I anxiously waited in the ballroom. Her turn came and I was just so amazed how she came out and did her own thing! She was really having fun and loving every second of being up there! When she came off the stage I again swooped her off her feet, hugging and kissing her all the while telling her what a great job she did! It made my heart happy to see her all excited and enjoying herself so much.
After the casualwear event we went back to the room to change her in to her Easter outfit, Little Bo Peep! She looked so darling in her outfit and her curls from casualwear looked great. When she was all dressed up and ready to go we went to show the hair and make up lady. She loved the outfit so much she took picture of Snow White and her son together.
Snow White was full of enthusiasm and couldn't wait to get back on that stage! Again we watched the group ahead of her and cheered them on. Everyone seemed to have very upbeat music and bounced around to the music. Snow White's music was "The Star of County Down" which is soft, slow and smooth (old Irish song). It was a change in pace and seemed to be well received by all. At one point she seemed to be having a little trouble maneuvering the very tall shepherds staff but she did not miss a beat! One very large egg was knocked off the display in the background but she did not falter, she kept on going as if nothing had happened. When she was done she skipped right to me just beaming with happiness! Oldest Daughter and I were clapping so hard our hands hurt!
After Snow White's group we staid in the ballroom for awhile cheering on the contestants and picked an outfit for her small bear. Now it was time to close the ballroom to tabulate the scores. The hotel restaurant wouldn't be open for another hour or so. Given this we went back to our room for her to change out of her Little Bo Peep outfit then went out for dinner.
When we returned it was time for the party! There was an Egg hunt which was three large areas covered in paper strips (Easter Bunny's Nests). Each area had toys, plastic eggs and candy hidden beneath which the children dug through! They were excited each time they emerged with a prize! There was a moon bounce, games, raffles and door prizes. Snow White and even Oldest Daughter had a GREAT time!!
AND THE AWARD GO TO...
The scores have been tabulated and everyone was gathered in the ballroom for the awards ceremony...Crowning! In the opening two Shriners came in to thank all the contestants for donating coloring books. They also talked about the wonderful benefits of the Shriners Children's Hospitals. Snow White was THRILLED to see Shriners at the pageant! After all her Uncles and Grandpa are Shriners! Grandpa was the Potentate in 1997. Good gracious has it really been that long ago? I had to pause here and call him to make sure I had the year right but I was thinking more along the lines of just a couple of years ago. My parents were actually at the Shriners Temple having dinner when I called. My Dad was also surprised thinking it has been 10 years now and shared my thinking in it seemed only a few years ago.
Ok on to the awards! There are awards in each age group for prettiest hair, smile, dress and eyes. There are awards for each event (Beauty, Casualwear, Easterwear, Photogenic) per age group for the winner and runners up. Each time your name is called by the MC you run up to the stage, have your picture taken, a crown placed on your head (for some awards), a banner (for some awards), trophy (for some awards) and given a ticket to pick out a prize on a row of tables with literally hundreds of toys to choose from!! The phrase "Let loose in a toy store" is appropriate!
There are higher awards for scoring the most points (Grand Supreme, Mini Supreme, Overalls). All contestants were eligible since all events, supremes and overalls (except poster) were included in the pageant price. These winners of the highest titles are given out first to allow first crack at the prize table. Do not misunderstand, the toys are all high level, brand names which the children actually want! After all of the awards there were many gifts still on the tables so it was not like the children called up later were only left with table scraps. A large variety was provided to insure all contestants left with prizes they liked. I don't recall a child called less than 2 or 3 times up to the stage so each was recognized on stage and given prizes.
Are you just dying to know if Snow White was the last one called to pick out a prize? Actually, her name was called several times for awards. Each time she heard her name she ran up on the stage with a HUGE smile on her face!
As to Snow White's list of awards.....drum roll....
5-10 Overall Photogenic (highest scoring photos in the 5-10 yr olds who competed)
7-8 yr Beauty Queen
7-8 yr Casualwear 1st Runner Up
7-8 yr Easter outfit 1st Runner Up
7-8 yr Best Smile
7-8 yr Best Hair
7-8 yr Prettiest Eyes
7-8 yr Best Personality
Director's Choice 5-10 Angel Face
The director came up with a few more awards after watching all the wonderful children that day. The new awards were created by the director in addition to all the awards she had planned to give out when she made up her paper work. No one knew about these extra awards when they signed up for the pageant. Everyone signed up and entered the events they wished and were still given more than they expected!
Snow White not only had a great time doing her own thing on stage...she was given more than half a dozen of toys in the awards plus all the prizes from the party and the Easter egg hunt! The whole day was exciting!
I chalk this up to a GREAT weekend! My daughters and I had yet another wonderful road trip to add to our memories! We also had a great time at the party, met new fun people who are around each of our ages (Oldest Daughter actually reacquainted herself with people she had not seen in a years!), the thrill of the awards ceremony and just a fantastic family time.
The pageant was over but I wanted to make sure we did not feel rushed out our room on pageant day. I booked the hotel room through Sunday since I did not want to worry about vacating the room by 11 am and Snow White not going on stage until the afternoon. This also gave me a little time to recoup the sleep I had lost the previous night.
There were two more pageants being held at the hotel the next day but we were exhausted from just the one. The ballroom had to be packed up and a bit of first phase cleaning. The director had to pack up all the toys, extra crowns and such while picking up the larger portion of debris (if you bring a soda, open a toy or snack please remember the area under your seat is not the same as putting it in the garbage). We went down to help clean up and pack up. We even did a little vacuuming. After clean up detail the director gave Snow White an extra crown for helping out, larger than any she had won. That was so sweet of her and so unnecessary. Someone mentioned she could give her older sister one of the smaller crowns she won at the pageant since she was given this larger crown.
Snow White and I went back to our hotel room and found Oldest Daughter trying to catch up on the shows she had missed. Snow White gave the big crown she was just given to Oldest Daughter. She later explained she gave the biggest crown to her sister because she helped her so much this weekend...and..."I won those other crowns so not matter how big or small I want to keep them. You get the biggest one because you did a super job all in one! She wouldn't appreciate getting a crown I won but she would like a crown for helping. That way she won't think she took something from me but was given something for being HER best!" I love my children! Hearing them say things like this and watching how they interact with each other and others just makes my heart swell!
Those who say pageants are not for children or think they have a negative impact on children need to realize there are positives in pageantry. If it were not for the positives they would not be so populated. They would have also gone by the way side years ago.