The 52nd Annual Swamp Cabbage Queen and Princess Pageant was held at the LaBelle High School Auditorium this past Saturday night, February 2. The audience was packed with excited friends, family, and even some royalty from past pageants. Seated front and center were the judges: Lori Jennings, Jennifer Dubasak, Justine Prince, Pam Brown, and Lara Mitchell Pack. This year’s DC and Marvel Comic Book theme was well represented by the wildly decorated, colorful stage. Abby Arnold and Kasey Whidden, the pageant’s emcees, were hilarious and managed to keep the crowd entertained, even with some delays along the way, while guiding and encouraging the contestants through the costume, talent, and evening gown portions of the show.
As the curtain was pulled back to reveal each contestant in their clever superhero and villain costumes, the applause was deafening. The costumes ranged from the sinister Harley Quinn worn by the adorable Harleigh Weber, and the beautiful-but-deadly Poison Ivy as portrayed by the captivating Novie Jo Kohutek, to a sparkly, gold, sequin covered, representation of Aqua Man as shown by the bubbly Emmalee Grace. Emylee Hull lit up the stage with a glittering shawl and gold leggings for her Phoenix costume. Two of the contestants, Trinity Carncross and Brooke White, went the patriotic route, dressing as strikingly beautiful versions of Captain America. Everyone exuded confidence as they strolled along the stage, striking heroic or sinister poses. The judges quickly realized they were going to be facing a very difficult decision.
These gifted young ladies next showcased their superpowers in the talent portion of the show. There was a variety of singing, dancing, dramatic and comedic monologues, speeches, and even an exhilarating yet cute archery exhibition by the youngest contestant, Sadie Pelletier. At the end of a powerful and exuberant routine, Hailey Prince held up a sign that revealed she was battling juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The crowd gasped and the cheers rose to an ear-splitting level. It became quite obvious that these amazing young gals were all here to win.
Last came the much-anticipated evening gowns and nerve wracking interview questions. Poised, with absolutely flawless hair and makeup, they each came out in their gorgeous gowns, gliding confidently across the stage. As the questions were asked and answered, these young women, even the youngest, suddenly seemed wise and dignified, beyond their years. There was a bit of levity thrown in amongst all the tension as Camryn Nash was asked what she would bring with her if stranded on a deserted island, and she replied, “I would bring a boat!” The crowd roared with laughter.
Each of these brilliant young ladies displayed so much courage, talent, and grace throughout the event. As they lined up on stage for the announcement of awards and the coveted titles, they grasped each other’s hands tightly and looked out into the audience with glowing, hopeful expressions. The awards were announced as follows:
Top Ad Sales: Carli Spencer
Top Ticket Sales: Trinity Carncross
Miss Congeniality: Hailey Prince
Queen - Novie Kohutek
Princess - Emmalee Grace
Junior Miss - Carli Spencer
Little Miss - Sadie Pelletier
Queen - Tie between Brooke White and Novie Kohutek
Princess - Hailey Prince
Junior Miss - Carlie Spencer
Swamp Cabbage Queen: Brooke White
Runner Up – Novie Kohutek
Swamp Cabbage Princess: Hailey Prince
Runner Up – Jaiden Hinman
Junior Miss Swamp Cabbage: Carli Spencer
Runner Up – Harleigh Weber
Little Miss Swamp Cabbage: Sadie Pelletier
What an impressive, ambitious group of young women. These inspiring gals have great aspirations of becoming nurses, principals, veterinarians, teachers, doctors, artists, and lawyers. If you missed the pageant, you can see them during the Swamp Cabbage Parade. Congratulations ladies, you should all be extremely proud of yourselves! LaBelle certainly is proud of you. See you all at the Swamp Cabbage Festival!