The 2020 Miss Grays Harbor/Outstanding Teen pageant will sweep onto the stage Saturday evening at the 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam.
Five young women are competing for the Miss Grays Harbor crown this year, and there are seven candidates for Grays Harbor’s Outstanding Teen.
“We have several returners, which is so exciting to see. And they’ve all been a pleasure,” said Liisa Mayberry, who has been director of the program for three and a half years. “I’m glad I did not have to judge, because they’re all fantastic.”
Miss Grays Harbor candidates must be 17 (and a senior in high school) to 25 years old.
The 2020 slate, in alphabetical order, is:
• Annette Alejandre — The 18-year-old daughter of Juan and Lucy Alejandre is a senior at Hoquiam High School. Her talent is vocal, and her social impact initiative (formerly known at a platform) is Food Ball.
• Emma Bradford — The 19-year-old daughter of Sarah Bradford and Kyle Brook is attending South Puget Sound Community College. Her talents are ukulele and vocal, and her initiative is the National Association for Children of Addiction.
• Courtney Glenn — The 19-year-old daughter of John and Chris Glenn is a student at Grays Harbor College. Her talent is vocal, and her initiative is mental health education.
• Madi Niemi — The 18-year-old daughter of Kelly and Julie Niemi is a senior at Aberdeen High School. Her talent is tap dance, and her initiative is “more self-love.”
• Kylie Shepard — The 23-year-old daughter of Craig “Bud” and Dianne Shepard is a graduate of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her talent is dance, and her initiative is “shining a light on invisible disabilities.”
Outstanding Teen candidates must be between the ages of 14 and 17 (but not past their junior year of high school).
Two of this year’s contenders represent a bit of sibling rivalry. “The Winkelman sisters, Maci and Ellie, are running against each other in the Teen competition, and their little sister Josie is a Raindrop Princess,” said Mayberry, adding: “They’ve actually gotten along quite well for siblings.”
Here’s the alphabetical list of Teen candidates:
• Graci Bonney-Spradlin — The 14-year-old daughter of Bill Bonney and Laura Spradlin is a freshman at Hoquiam High School. Her talent is dance, and her initiative is involvement in youth sports.
• Shayli Burlingame — The 16-year-old daughter of Mark Burlingame and Robin Green is a junior at Aberdeen High School. Her talent is vocal, and her initiative is bullying prevention.
• Sofia Da Silva — The 16-year-old daughter of Erin Riley is a sophomore at Montesano High School. Her talent is vocal, and her initiative is LGBTQIA+ education for teens and adults.
• Lauren Fagerstedt — The 16-year-old daughter of Joe and Allison Fagerstedt is a sophomore at Aberdeen High School. Her talent is vocal, and her initiative is “hometown pride: getting involved in your community.”
• Autumn Sayres-Hartman — The 15-year-old daughter of Michael and Ericka Franks is a sophomore at Elma High School. Her talent is violin, and her initiative is Planned Parenthood.
• Ellie Winkelman — The 15-year-old daughter of Ben and Jennifer Winkelman is a sophomore at Hoquiam High School. Her talent is vocal, and her initiative is reducing the use of single-use plastics.
• Maci Winkelman — The 13-year-old daughter of Ben and Jennifer Winkelman is an eighth-grader at Saint Mary School. Her talent is dance, and her initiative is learning disabilities in children.
Miss Grays Harbor is a preliminary competition for Miss Washington and Miss America. These programs provide young women with the opportunity to win scholarships to pursue their goals. The funds are contributed by corporate and individual sponsors who commit their support to the personal advancement of these young women.
Mayberry herself has been active in the program for many years. She started out as a “Little Sister” (the program that later evolved into the Raindrop Princesses), then competed for a few years and was crowned Miss Grays Harbor in 2007.
“Then I stepped away for a little bit, then came back as a volunteer,” she said. “Then I was on the board, and now I’m director.”
Planning and preparations for Saturday’s event have been grueling for all involved.
“It’s been a long week already, and it’s just the beginning of rehearsals,” Mayberry said Monday morning from the theater as the organizers, participants and theater crew bustled about, working hard to coordinate their efforts for a seamless show.
The current Miss Washington, Abbie Kondel, will perform and assist with the crowning, she said. In addition, Amy Ellingson Skuza, who wore the Miss Grays Harbor crown 20 years ago, will sing.
The show will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $25 for general seating, $35 for “Golden Circle” seating. The latter involves VIP treatment: early entry, hors d’oeuvres and reserved seats up front.
Advance tickets are available from Brown Paper Tickets, Harbor Drug, City Center Drug, or any of the contestants.