Miss Strawberry Days contestants work up a sweat | PostIndependent.com

Miss Strawberry Days contestants work up a sweat

Photo Courtesy/Todd Patrick PhotographyMiss Strawberry Days contestants Tawnie Julian-Waechtler, Mikaela Guettler, Marie Huber, Amber Kight, Abbey Barnes, Bryann Starbuck, Courtney Herrell, Leah Hubbard, Whitney Kathryn Setterberg, Amber McCoy, Stevie Wittet and Carrie Bianco pose with Miss Strawberry Days co-chairs Jenifer Rose and Janelle Rhoton in front of the playhouse they constructed to be auctioned off for Habitat for Humanity.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A group of young ladies now know the concept of sweat equity when it comes to owning a home, a valuable life lesson as they bid for the 2009 Miss Strawberry Days crown Friday as the kickoff for the annual Strawberry Days festival.

This year’s 12 contestants spent last Thursday at the Habitat for Humanity Restore at Cattle Creek helping to build a playhouse constructed from recycled building materials. The 6-foot-by-6-foot playhouse will be auctioned off during this weekend’s Strawberry Days, at 1 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage at Sayre Park.

The money raised will be the contestants’ contribution to the eventual construction of a new affordable home in partnership with a local family in need, still to be determined.

The contestants – Tawnie Julian-Waechtler, Mikaela Guettler, Marie Huber, Amber Kight, Abbey Barnes, Bryann Starbuck, Courtney Herrell, Leah Hubbard, Whitney Kathryn Setterberg, Amber McCoy, Stevie Wittet and Carrie Bianco – were joined by Miss Strawberry Days co-chairs Jenifer Rose from Bighorn Toyota and Janelle Rhoton from the Property Shop in helping with the project.

“The contestants were also being judged as they worked on building the playhouse,” said Joni Bates of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, the main organizer of the Strawberry Days festival.

“Leadership, decision making, time management, team skills and cooperation with others are character traits that were being observed as the judges looked on throughout the day,” she said.

Next up for the contestants will be the Miss Strawberry Days Fashion Show, taking place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

Contestants will be modeling the latest summer designs from local shops, including Treadz, Personality Clothing and Accessories, a’ la carte, Anderson’s Clothing, Aspen Valley Harley-Davidson, Glenwood Hot Springs Sport Shop, Mona Lisa, Night and Dance, Summit Canyon Mountaineering, Mountain Sports Outlet, and Bealls.

Judges will rate the contestants, and the crowd will also be able to vote for their favorite contestant. The fashion show is free to the public.

Then, at 5:30 p.m. Friday on the Main Stage in Sayre Park the contestants compete in the final judging for the crown. Master of Ceremonies is Bob Willey.

“He will interview the young ladies and ask that important final question as the judges look on and their final vote is tallied before announcing the winner,” Bates said.

This year’s Miss Strawberry Days main sponsor is Bighorn Toyota. College scholarships are awarded to the top three contestants, including $2,000 to the winner, $1,500 for runner-up and $1,000 for third.

The Miss Strawberry Days contest serves as the opening event for the weekend festival. The 112th Glenwood Springs Strawberry Days takes place Friday through Sunday at Sayre (Strawberry) Park.

Strawberry Days is the oldest continuously held civic celebration west of the Mississippi. This year’s theme is “A Chinese Celebration.” The festival includes a parade on Saturday, plus live music, a KidsFest area, food and artisans fair all weekend in the park, and the carnival with rides and games, taking place this year at the Glenwood Springs Mall in West Glenwood.

Fair visitors are urged to use the Ride Glenwood buses to get around town during the festival. The free local bus service will have extended hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, with buses scheduled to make stops every 30 minutes.

Parking is limited during the festival. For more information about Ride Glenwood, call (970) 925-8484.

And, for more information about Strawberry Days visit strawberrydays-festival.com, or call the chamber at (970) 945-6589.


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