04/29/12 — Pickle princesses revel in day in spotlight at festival

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Pickle princesses revel in day in spotlight at festival

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 29, 2012 1:50 AM

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Teen Miss N.C. Pickle Festival Jasmine Artis, left, Greater Miss N.C. Pickle Festival Chelsie Spurgeon and Miss N.C. Pickle Festival Beth Stovall take a bite of a Mt. Olive pickle.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Maia Phillips, 5, likes her crown and her sash, but she likes her pickles even more.

Mini Miss Maia, the winner of the five to six-year-old age group in the 12th annual North Carolina Pickle Princess Pageant, barely made it into her house after the pageant before eating her prize -- a jar of Mt. Olive pickles.

"Can I eat my pickles?" she asked her mother, before she picked and ate all of the pickles out of the jar.

Maia got the chance to eat even more Mt. Olive pickles along with the rest of the princess court at the 26th annual North Carolina Pickle Festival.

The girls of all ages made their way down Center Street getting their pictures taken with both pickles and fans after their regular appearance and performance on the Dancer's Stage. The princess court also makes appearances at other Mount Olive Area Chamber events, including the annual Christmas parade.

Victoria Walsh, 8, earned the grand title of "Overall Magestic" from the pageant on April 7, which is just one on her long list of titles, including Race City Carolina Princess.

Victoria is from Wilmington and has competed in several pageants

across the state of North Carolina.

She said her favorite part about pageants is "helping others" and she also enjoys making a lot of new friends.

Victoria does not know what it was that made the judges choose her as the Overall Magestic winner, but she is proud to sport the large, sparkly crown.

Supreme Miss Megan Casey, 9, said she also likes helping others and winning crowns.

"I've been in a lot (of pageants)," she said.

The pickle pageant three years ago was Megan's first.

For her talent portion, Megan dances to jazz music, but that is only half of her pageant battle.

The Supreme Miss title is given to the girl who sold the most ads for the pageant, and Megan sold more than $1,200 worth.

Megan's mother, Robin Casey, said they have a pageant coach to help her prepare. But the only way Megan can keep competing in pageants is if she continues her dedication to community service.

"She's real big into charity work," Casey said.

Tomorrow, Megan will turn 10 years old. And next year, she will compete for Greater Miss, the girl who does the most throughout the year for the pageant.

The Pickle Princess Pageant has become known throughout the state, bringing in participants of all ages, even including the occasional male participant.

The participants compete in 11 age divisions, from baby through Miss, with many walking away from the pageant with titles.

The younger divisions compete in an evening wear and sports wear round, while the older divisions compete in an evening wear and a talent round.

Singing and dancing is popular among the girls for the talent portion of the competition.

Taylor Skinner, 9, is another frequent pageant competitor and winner in the group.

She has been clogging for a year and put her clogging skills on display at the pageant to the tune of "Life is a Highway" by the Rascal Flatts.

"I like wearing different clothes and competing," Taylor said.

Pickles, though, are one thing that Taylor does not really like. She gave her prize jar of pickles to her Nana to enjoy.

Mini Magestic Makena Ginn said she also likes to dance.

The six-year-old's grandmother, Beverly Massey brought her to the festival, sharing in the fun with many of the other girl's family members.

And while Makena loves to show off her dancing skills, Mrs. Massey said the reason she likes pageants is because "she loves dressing up and being prissy."