The event was open to girls in grades 9-12, the junior pageant to girls entering 6-8 grades. It was typically scheduled at the end of May or early June, and while the pageant included an evening gown competition, participants were primarily judged based on civic engagement, leadership and community service, according to the report.
Participation has been steadily declining since 2008, when the city parks department became involved in organizing the event, which originally was called the Miss 4th of July pageant.
Volunteers have led the organizing efforts to varying degrees the past 10 years, but city parks staff was involved in securing facilities and supplies, preparing applications, taking registrations and other needs.
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The amount of time and resources expended by the parks department “is sizable,” according to the staff report by Erin Harris, the city’s recreation program supervisor.
“The amount of people it takes to put on the event is larger than the number of people who participate,” Harris’ report reads. “The pageant does draw a small audience, the family and friends of the participants, a handful or two for each girl. Last year we had about 50 in the crowd. This is well below the number of people who come to many other events that take fewer resources.”
City officials have reached out to the school district and is exploring other options to continue the program in a way that requires less city staff resources.