Winning Miss Latrobe Fourth of July title takes pageant queen by surprise
Cristen Scifo said her brain took a few extra seconds to process the news when she heard her number called as queen of the 2013 Miss Latrobe Fourth of July pageant.
“I had to stop and think and remind myself it was my number,” she said. “I almost cried, but I told myself I couldn't cry because I didn't have waterproof mascara on.”
Scifo, 17, of Bradenville vied for the title with 21 other girls on June 16.
Aubrey Marquis of Latrobe was crowned first runner-up, Morgan Wano of Latrobe was crowned second runner-up and Mickayla Selemba of Latrobe was crowned Miss Congeniality.
“There were 22 girls, and they all did so well that I didn't know who was going to win,” Scifo said.
The queen, the daughter of Anita and Joseph Scifo, will be a senior at Greater Latrobe Senior High School in the fall.
She participates in track and field, cross country, color guard, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Interact Club, musical productions, concert choir and French Honors Society.
Her 18-year-old sister, Maria Scifo, also participated in the pageant.
The newly crowned queen competed last year but said the past experience did not allay her nervousness this year.
“I was definitely more prepared, but I don't think I was less nervous,” Cristen Scifo said.
During the question-and-answer round, Marquis, 15, said she tried to ignore the crowd in the nearly full auditorium at Greater Latrobe Senior High School.
“I was really nervous and I just kept telling myself, ‘They're just people and I talk in front of people all the time,' ” said the daughter of Dobie and Christine Marquis.
This year's theme was support for local business and industry, and contestants had to create a costume reflecting a local business.
Marquis represented Willow Tree Gymnastics at 1605 Ligonier St., where she has been dancing since she was 2 years old, wearing a leotard decorated with willow leaves and carrying a handmade tree onstage.
Scifo, representing Rose Style Shoppe at 906 Ligonier St., created a dress, handbag and hat out of shopping bags from the downtown clothing store.
During the weeks of practices leading up to the pageant, Marquis said, the participants got to know each other. She and Scifo discovered they were distantly related through marriage.
The pageant winners worked together at the Big Wheel Race on June 18.
“It was like the most fun I've had with a group of girls in a long time,” Marquis said.
Scifo said she looks forward to donning her crown at the parade on Saturday, especially for the youngest parade-goers.
“They get so excited, they think you're a princess ...,” she said.
The queen is already prepared for next year.
“I'm so excited to be able to crown one of them next year because I've made so many friends this year,” Scifo said.
Latrobe's Fourth of July Celebration is under way and will be capped off with a half-hour fireworks display on the holiday.
Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig, commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard, will lead the parade on July 4, which begins at 10:30 a.m.
Craig, who has held the post since 2011, is responsible for command, control and supervision of Pennsylvania's Army and Air National Guard units, as well as the six state-owned veterans' homes and programs for the state's 1 million veterans.
No chairs, blankets or ropes are permitted to hold spaces along the parade route until 8:30 p.m. July 3. Any items placed before then will be removed and discarded by the city.
Those who want to be in the parade can still register for the line-up, which is first-come, first-served this year. Nearly 200 marching units from throughout Westmoreland County will participate.
The finale of the celebration includes $8,000 worth of fireworks that will light up the skies over Latrobe near Legion-Keener Park.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or email@example.com.