Three beautiful young ladies are vying for the title of St. John Festival Princess 2010.
JahNyah Dalmida-McCain, 10-year-old Guy Benjamin School fourth grader, is the daughter of Roslynn Dalmida-McCain; Destini Garcia, 9-year-old Julius E. Sprauve School third grader, is the daughter of Eugenia Desma Denis and granddaughter of the late Evans Denis, and Tashiya King, 9-year-old fourth grader at Joseph Gomez Elementary School, is the daughter of Tashma David and Waynley King, Jr. of St. Thomas.
The princess pageant has been a St. John tradition for more than a half century and this year’s event is slated to begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 20, at the Winston Wells ball park in Cruz Bay.
“The princess pageant is special because it gives the young ladies the air of self confidence to go up on stage and perform in front of an audience,” said Enid Doway, pageants committee chairperson for the Festival and Cultural Organization of St. John. “When these girls do this and get up on stage, they are learning lifelong skills such as self-confidence, motivation and public speaking.”
The princess pageant is open to St. John and St. Thomas girls ages six to 11 who are judged on their introductory speech, swimwear, sportswear, evening wear, a cartoon/story book character talent segment and an impromptu question and answer session.
“It takes them about six weeks to prepare for the pageant,” Doway said. “We have the applications for princess available beginning in January because we want to give them greater time to prepare. We want this to be a learning process rather than a cramming session so it is more about gaining lifelong skills than just prepping for a show.”
Interviewing the contestants, their hard work is evident — the girls are articulate, confident and seem to be wholeheartedly looking forward to the upcoming competition.
“I am excited about the pageant because I get to be on stage and show off everything I have been practicing,” said King, who has been working two hours each day to gear up for the pageant.
“I have never been on stage before,” she said. “But I am not nervous.”
Nerves haven’t settled near Dalmida-McCain either; instead, she said she is excited about the upcoming pageant she has been prepping for between two and three hours daily.
“I wanted to run for princess because I love the stuff that you can do running for princess like when you are performing your cartoon character or wearing your sportswear costumes,” she said. “I’ve practiced every day. And I hope I see you guys there to support us as we try our best.”
Garcia said preparing for the pageant has also consumed much of her time in recent weeks.
“I have been practicing a lot for the past month – I have been practicing modeling, my pageant character and my speech,” she said. “I am excited about the princess show and about having lots of fun.”
“Enjoy our Cultural and Musical Trend for Festival 2010” is the theme of this year’s festivities which began on June 5 and will continue through July 5. Due to a lack of participation in recent years, the festival committee began advertising the princess and queen pageants to young ladies on St. Thomas last year.
“We were having a lot of issues finding contestants for the pageant,” Doway said. “This year, we have two princess contestants from St. John and one from St. Thomas.”
The pageant kicks off next Saturday night at 6 p.m. and a princess will be crowned a few short hours later.
“The girls have a lot of fun, and the adrenaline is really kicking,” Doway said. “They are so excited and pumped up. The time flies, honestly.”