Paige Motley has had the time of her life.
A Miss Grapette winner in the junior division, Motley, 13, has spent the year traveling across Ohio, wearing crowns and sparkly dresses and telling people all about her hometown.
“We go to all these festivals and we just tell people about Geneva,” she said. “We talk about the Grape Jamboree and the wineries and the covered bridges and we represent the city and the area.”
The Grapettes are winding down their year of rhinestones and say they can’t wait to meet the newest team of pageant queens.
Registration for the Miss Grapette pageant are being accepted now and are due no later than Sept. 12, but spaces are limited and filling up fast, pageant director Chrissy Jeppe said.
“We only have two more spots in the junior division,” she said. “Each division is limited to 20 girls.”
The Miss Grapette Pageant is a staple of the annual Geneva Grape Jamboree, and recent interest in the pageant has expanded the crowning to include two shows and many more titles.
Girls in kindergarten through second grade will vie for the Little Miss Grapette title. Girls in grades three through five will compete for the Young Miss Grapette title, Junior Miss Grapette is for girls in sixth through eighth grade, and the Miss Grapette title is for students grades nine through 12.
Applications are available online at www.grapejamboree.com. Sponsor fees are $50 per contestant and includes a T-shirt. Girls will need to wear khaki pants and black or brown shoes and a formal dress.
Girls from Ashtabula, Lake or Geauga county are eligible to participate in the pageants.
Miss Grapette will be crowned Sept. 22 in the Geneva High School Auditorium. The pageant is open to the public. Ticket sales begin at 2 p.m. on Sept.. 22 and the pageants begin at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
The Miss Grapette winners are expected to travel to events across Ohio throughout the year.
Jeppe said there is a lot of excitement for the 49th annual Miss Grapette pageant.
“The Miss Grapette pageant is about being a spokesperson for Geneva, our community and our county. These ladies are out traveling most of the year,” she said.
The girls enjoy a certain celebrity status, Jeppe said.
“It is amazing at how much attention they receive when we go anywhere,” she said. “They are almost like celebrities. People start to recognize them as a Grapette, and they are always interested to ask about the festivals.”
Jeppe said very shy girls come out of their shell when a crown is balanced on their head.
“This experience is great for these ladies,” she said. “It builds up their confidence. It teaches them how to speak in front of a large crowd, and gives them responsibility and accountability.”
Karlie Bradbury, 10, said her pageant experience gave her courage, even as she was shaking in her sparkly shoes.
“The first pageant takes a lot of courage, but I have never regretted it,” she said.
Miss Grapette first attendant Katie Peck, 16, said she has made great friends in her travels across Ohio this year.
Little Miss Grapette second attendant Tegan Gilbert, 6, said she enjoys being in the parades and waving to the crowds.
Young Miss Grapette first attendant Chloe McCoy, 9, said riding on parade floats is always fun.
“We meet so many great people and we get to go to so may interesting places,” she said.
Junior Miss Grapette first attendant Kaitlyn Kennan, 11, said she loves telling people all about Geneva.
“We go to these towns and people don’t know what Miss Grapette is,” she said. “We get to tell them about Geneva and all the great things about the area and we know they are excited about the next Grape Jamboree.”
Paige Motley has had the time of her life.
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