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Getting the know ... the Canal Days Queen Pageant director PDF Print E-mail
Monday, June 10, 2013 12:34 AM


Staff Writer

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DELPHOS — Delphos Canal Days doesn’t officially kick off until “The Toast to the Town” on Thursday of the festival weekend but the first event takes place the weekend before with the Canal Days Queen Pageant, during which judges select the young woman who will preside over the festivities.

Kimberly Ousley, who was once a pageant contestant herself, is now head of the pageant committee.


“I helped run it back in 2007 with Gina Wiley. That was my first year,” she said. “This is now year seven. I was in the pageant for three years, placed in two of them. I was also in the Peony Festival as well as Allen County Junior Miss and I actually placed at Miss Cheerleader of Ohio.”


Ousley and her other committee members, Brooke Etzkorn and Megan Goedde, are already beginning the planning process.

“A lot of it is getting on the same page with the Canal Days Committee as a whole on what the queen’s responsibilities will be during the festival,” she said. “Then we select a theme, trying to coordinate with the theme for the festival. The theme this year is ‘Magic,’ which should be fun. We select the song we’re dancing to and begin recruiting contestants, fund-raising, coordinating community service projects and publicity.”

The committee will start meeting with contestants Saturday. Ousley says she hopes the girls can gain a sense of self-worth from their pageant experience.

“For those who maybe don’t have a strong home life or not a very good support system, we hope they learn things to help lead them down the right path,” she said. “We hope they can take away from it poise and self-confidence and maybe the ability to speak publicly; most of all, a respect for their community. We hope they learn how important it is to do things for the community and become involved.”

“We spend a lot of time on community service projects and for us it’s just a way to give back,” she added. “We also hope the community will start to see these girls for the intelligent young women they are, because this isn’t just a beauty pageant.”

The community service projects planned thus far include assisting with the planting and maintenance of the flowers up and down Main Street and collecting funds to send to tornado victims in Oklahoma. They will also sell tickets for a Tin Caps baseball game and hold a car wash as fundraisers.

“We would like to raise enough money to give the queen a $1,000 scholarship,” Ousley said. “The last couple years we’ve been able to get it up to $600 but it’s been $500 since the pageant started, which was back in 1994.”

Having been involved with the pageant for seven years beyond her own years as a contestant, it’s obvious Ousley has a passion for the pageant and what it represents.

“My favorite part of the pageant itself is the spontaneous question and evening gown portions, but the best part of the whole thing is just the feeling that I’m doing something good for the community,” she said. “We’re not compensated, no one on the Canal Days Committee is, it’s all volunteer. I love seeing how much the committee as a whole works together towards making the festival a success. The greatest reward is getting to know girls who have been in the pageant for two, three years and getting to see them grow. When they tell you what they’ve learned from the program that will help them be successful in the future, that’s the best.”

In addition to the queen pageant this year will be the Little Miss and Junior Miss Canal Days pageants, for girls ages 3-5 and 6-8 respectively.

A Delphos native, Ousley works at Sarah Jane Assisted Living. She and Etzkorn also head the Miss Paulding County Pageant, which took place Friday.

Ousley and her husband Jon live in Paulding with their two children, 8-year-old Dakota and 3-month-old Jameson; and two dogs, J.D. and Elliot.

Those interested in purchasing Tin Caps tickets can reach Ousley at 419-302-3845.

Last Updated on Monday, June 10, 2013 10:00 PM

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