First Miss Covington Pageant Saturday

COVINGTON -- Crissy Alter of Covington and Amanda Baird of Loganville are good friends whose daughters, born seven days apart, share the middle name Hope and a love for competing in pageants.

Having experienced the pageant world themselves as competitors and through their daughters' competitions, the duo decided they would create their own local pageant that incorporated everything they like and leave out the parts they didn't. They decided to name their partnership Pageants of Hope, in honor of their daughters.

The inaugural Miss Covington Pageant will take place from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Eastside High School.

"We chose Covington because the only pageant here is Miss Newton County and it's limited to 10 people," Baird said. The Miss Covington Pageant has been designed to "bring out all ages and sizes and races and genders," she said.

Contestants will be broken into 10 age divisions ranging from birth to 22 and up. There is also a mother/daughter division and Tiny Mr. divisions for boys ages up to 2 years and ages 3 to 5.

Each division will have a queen or king and a first, second and third alternate. The winners will receive a tiara, trophy, custom-made sash and flowers, with alternates receiving a sash and trophy. Winners will ride in local parades and make appearances and do community volunteer work. Medals will also be given to the contestants deemed the most photogenic, best dressed, and who have the prettiest smile, prettiest hair and prettiest eyes.

Baird and Alter said they intend to donate a portion of proceeds from the pageant to local charities through their Grand Princess competition that allows competitors to solicit donations to earn points. A donation of $1 earns contestants one point; the contestant who raises the most money will be named Covington's Grand Princess. Donors are also being entered into a drawing for gift cards to local businesses.

All contestants can expect to walk away with something in hand.

"Everyone receives a participation trophy. Everyone receives a goody bag. We want each of the girls and boys when they leave, whether they went home with a crown or not, to still leave feeling like a princess or prince," Alter said, adding that pageants aren't just about competition.

"My daughter loves to be on stage and she loves to be the center of attention. It builds their confidence and their self-esteem. Her very first pageant, she laid down and cried and still walked away with it. They make a lot of friends," she said.

Admission for the general public is $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 3 to 11. Children 2 and under get in free.

The women hope to hold four pageants over the next year in Covington and surrounding areas including a December Divas holiday-themed pageant this winter. For more information, visit www.pageantsofhope.com.