Young women with their eye on the Miss America title will grace the stage at the Miss Kool-Aid Days Pageant Saturday.
The pageant is open to young women ages 17-24 and gives the winner the title of Miss Kool-Aid Days and a $1,000 cash scholarship for college.
Additionally, the winner gets an entry into the Miss Nebraska Pageant and the chance to represent Nebraska in the Miss America Pageant.
The Miss Kool-Aid Days Pageant was first organized in 2012 and was held a second time in 2013.
Local organizers Angie Trausch and Angela Keiser both have experience in pageants and say getting up in front of people and the benefits of the scholarship money make the experience worth it.
Trausch said the $1,000 scholarship given to the winner of the Miss Kool-Aid Days Pageant is the biggest scholarship given for a local pageant in Nebraska. There are a total of 12 local pageants in Nebraska for women to qualify for the Miss Nebraska competition and the Hastings pageant boasts the biggest purse.
“We’re thankful to have such good contributors to help these young women further their education,” Trausch said. “Hopefully, one day we’ll have a local gal to represent Hastings well.”
The pageant competition consists of five areas of competition: Talent, private interview, lifestyle and fitness in a swimsuit, evening wear and on-stage questions.
The talent and private interview portions make up 60 percent of the scoring.
The private interview is the time when the participant can first begin to talk about her platform issue — an issue that is dear to her whether it be homelessness, literacy or even abuse. The topic choices are endless.
Trausch said that topic is then the winner’s platform topic for the year that she will speak about in countless arenas throughout her year as Miss Kool-Aid Days.
“There is no substitute to having that ability to increase your public speaking skills,” Trausch said. “That is something you take with you the rest of your life, which makes this a neat opportunity for these girls.”
Once Miss Kool-Aid Days is named, she will begin her official duties next weekend at Kool-Aid Days, where she will judge a variety of contests, participate in the Kool-Aid Days Parade and pose for lots of photos.
The job doesn’t stop there.
The winner will hold the title for one year and be expected to represent the community and Kool-Aid Days across the state at various events, including the Miss Nebraska Pageant in North Platte.
In addition to the Miss Kool-Aid Days competition, the pageant will also feature the Little Sister Program, which gives girls ages 6 to 12 a chance to be mentored by the pageant competitors.
“This year we’ve got 16 or 18 girls,” Trausch said. “I’m so thankful with promotions in the media, I think the community is gaining some great awareness. It’s neat for those girls to have older contestants as role models. It gives them the chance to think about competing when they’re older.”
This year’s pageant is 7 p.m. Saturday at the Hastings High School auditorium, 1100 W. 14th St.
For more information, visit www.kool-aiddays.com/pageant.