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Latrobe cancels annual Miss Fourth of July pageant

Joe Napsha
| Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 4:24 p.m.

For the first time since 1970, Miss Fourth of July won't be crowned at Latrobe's annual celebration.

The city's Fourth of July Celebration Committee canceled the annual beauty pageant because no girls had registered and only two said they were interested in competing this year, said Carol Greenawalt, committee chairwoman.

"The interest of the girls is not there," Greenawalt said. "It's a whole different attitude. Times have changed. The girls are involved in softball and other extracurricular activities."

The committee had hoped to attract 10 girls for the pageant, though only seven competed last year, Greenawalt said. The pageant was advertised, and news about it was spread by word of mouth, she added.

The 2011 winner, Nicole McCleary of Derry, could be the last to wear the crown. The daughter of Traci and Bill McCleary is a 2011 graduate of Derry Area High School. She will attend Point Park University in the fall, where she will major in broadcasting.

The beauty pageant tradition in Latrobe began four decades ago, Greenawalt said.

The pageant was open to girls ages 15 to 19 who live in the Derry Area or Greater Latrobe school districts or had a Latrobe mailing address, Greenawalt said. Some of the girls who competed last year were over the age limit or were in college, Greenawalt said.

Contestants had to wear a gown and a dancer's outfit for the competition in Greater Latrobe High School, and they were required to give a one-minute speech on the theme "Stars and Stripes Forever." The winner would have received a $500 college scholarship, courtesy of Commercial Bank & Trust of Latrobe.

Greenawalt said she doesn't think the cost of acquiring a gown and dancer's outfit would have been a deterrent. Many contestants would wear their prom gown to the event, she said.

"We had everything ready but the girls. But they were too busy to make $500 for a scholarship for their education," Greenawalt said. "After all these years, it just failed."

The committee made the decision to cancel the event last month, Greenawalt said.

In lieu of the Miss July Fourth pageant, Greenawalt said the committee may consider a Mrs. Fourth of July pageant if interest develops.

In cancelling the beauty pageant, Greenawalt said, the committee will save about $5,000. That money will be spent on the annual fireworks display.

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