Miss Strawberry Days contestants walk the red carpet
Under threatening skies, more than 200 people gathered around the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool Thursday night in Glenwood Springs for the annual fashion show.
Just in time for the show to begin, the ominous storm clouds parted and the heavy rains and winds subsided.
With the swimsuit portion of the show gone, 14 candidates wearing two outfits they picked out and one of their own design paraded in front of a raucous crowd as the dimming early evening light settled on the valley.
Miss Strawberry Days candidate Danny Starbuck of New Castle was a crowd favorite, having fun with the fashion show and even shooting off a powder cannon as she walked down the red carpet.
“I think it is truly incredible on how they turned this into something more about our future and leadership then being something very superficial in the past.,” Starbuck said. “And I think it is an amazing opportunity for young girls to now participate so they know they are not just here to compete, they are here to not work, and they are here to basically start their lives and learn about people in the community they haven’t before.”
The powder cannon was a last-minute addition from her sister. The recent Coal Ridge High School graduate said she thought the blue powder (her high school color) went with the homecoming theme of the 122nd Strawberry Days festival.
“Its just an amazing experience to get know your community, get to represent your community and to learn a lot while you’re at it,” Starbuck said.
For candidate Claudia Rose Beattie — of Rifle and a recent Glenwood Springs High School graduate — it was all about having fun and learning to become a better leader.
“It empowered me more to want to do more leadership and take on a bigger role as a leader; it was such a good program,” Beattie said as she talked with friends and family after the fashion show.
“I had a lot of fun making my creative outfit. I was able to paint on the dress I made. It was a lot of fun.”
Beattie thought it was a smart idea to add the Athena program.
“They invited all the women around the community that are part of it,” she added. “I got to meet all of them and hear their stories — it was just so inspiring to hear.”
The fashion show wasn’t her first experience in front of a crowd. Beattie said she did pageants when she was younger but hadn’t competed in around five years.
“I was expecting more people,” Beattie said. “I was a little shocked when I came out, but it was still fun, and everybody was real loud. I loved hearing them all scream for me.”
Miss Strawberry Days 2019 will be crowned at 6 p.m. Friday at Sayre Park. The first-place winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship.
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The family of Rosie Ferrin has worked to clean up and make safe again the old schoolhouse in downtown New Castle. Ferrin died this summer and had owned the building that included classrooms turned into apartments for years.