Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 26, 2018
Midwest Old Threshers Reunion

Miss Sweet 16 contestants from past 50 years come back for reunion, Pereira takes 2018 crown

Sep 04, 2018
Photo by: Gretchen Teske Lilly Pereira, of New London, far right, was crowned the 2018 Miss Sweet 16. This year’s reunion was special as it marked the 50th anniversary of the pagent. Other winners include (from left to right)  Paige Stater, who  was crowned Miss Volunteer;  Avery Woods, of Long Grove, was crowned second runner-up; Allyson Farley, of New London, was crowned first runner-up; as Pereira took home the crown.

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Fifty years after Beverly Bauer was crowned the first Midwest Old Threshers Miss Sweet 16 in 1968, she crowned Lilly Pereira the 2018 Midwest Old Threshers Miss Sweet 16.

The annual Miss Sweet 16 pageant saw hundreds of new faces as over 200 former Miss Sweet 16 contestants joined together on stage to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the pageant. In honor of the pageant’s milestone, the contest’s coordinator, Danielle Davidson, recognized each of the previous contestants. There were no contestants present for the years ‘81, ‘91, ‘93, ‘94 or ‘96. Davidson told the crowd the pageant was started as a way to bring beauty to the Old Threshers grounds. The pageant has since evolved to include volunteer work and participation from the contestants.

Bauer said this was different from the original Miss Sweet 16 contest as contestants were only required to compete, not volunteer. “I didn’t have any official way to talk to people unless they came up to me and asked me questions” she said. “I think serving is always a good thing to do because it keeps you humble. I believe it’s a good character-building thing to do.”

The volunteering is not the only thing that has changed over the years. Bauer says the dress she wore was homemade by her mother and included a chicken-wire hoop skirt fashioned by her father. “I walked across the stage and my dress swayed with my steps and I think that’s what won the contest,” she jokes. “I have to give my mom and my dad all the credit, but it was a lot of fun.”

Of the changes, Bauer says, she’s glad to see the girls joining in and being a part of Old Threshers through the philanthropy work because it offers them a chance to see the grounds and for others to see the experience in a different light. “I feel bad for the queens who have had to work so hard as hostesses all these years because I didn’t have to do any of that,” she says.

This year, Lilly Pereira, of New London, was crowned Miss Sweet 16 after five days of hard work. She is the daughter of Germain and Tiffany Pereira and was elated to be chosen. Miss Sweet 16 was a lifelong dream of hers and to finally see it through brought tears to her eyes.

“I’m at a loss for words,” she said. “I’m honored to represent Old Threshers and be the person the other kids can look up to. I’ve thought about this my whole life and I never thought it would happen but now that it has, I’m really overwhelmed.”

Her favorite part, she said, was meeting and greeting new people and hearing stories as they entered the grounds. “It was a really good experience. I’m just glad I was able to be here,” she said. “I met so many wonderful people.”

Also recognized was first runner-up, Allyson Farley, of New London, daughter of Carolyn Farley and Jason Farley. Second runner-up was Avery Woods, of Long Grove, the daughter of Paula Frary Wood. Paige Stater, of Mt. Pleasant, was crowned Miss Volunteer. She is the daughter of Darin and Jennifer Stater.

Davidson was glad to see two years of hard work finally pay off on Sunday as the contest wrapped up. She told the crowd she reached out to over 500 people and got response back from just over 200. She was encouraged by the turnout and is already planning another Miss Sweet 16 reunion for the 60th anniversary. “We’re all about reunions,” she said.

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