Organizers stress queen candidates of any ethnicity are welcome to multi--cultural celebration of Cinco de Mayo
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
Liberal’s Cinco de Mayo celebration may be two months away, but as far as the Cinco de Mayo Queen Pageant is concerned, less than two weeks remain for local young ladies to sign up as candidates.
Pageant coordinator Lupe Lopez said although Cinco de Mayo is a Hispanic holiday, young women from any cultural background are encouraged to participate.
“We really want to stress that this pageant is open to any ethnicity,” Lopez said. “We really want people to understand that this is not just for Hispanic girls. We believe Liberal is multi-cultural, it is not just about the Hispanic ethnic background. The more cultures we can get involved in this, it just makes the pageant better.”
In order to participate as a Cinco de Mayo Queen contestant, Lopez said there are several requirements that must be met.
“This is open to girls ages 15 through 25,” she said. “They must never have been married, have no children and no criminal history.
“We are looking for girls that are highly motivated with an outgoing personality,” she added.
There is no limit to the amount of candidates that will be allowed to participate, Lopez said. However, March 15 is the deadline to sign up.
“We will take as many candidates as we can get – the more the better,” she said. “And there is no charge to participate.
“The registration process will begin with them picking up an application at the Chamber of Commerce, Spencer Browne’s, Yess Boutique, Beto Botas, Liberal High School, Seward County Community College/Area Technical School or any of the nail shops in town,” she explained. “We have put flyers up throughout town. Where ever they see a flyer, they can go in and get an application. We will have all our contact information on the application so they can get in contact with us. We will talk personally with the candidates and go from there.”
Fundraising is the primary job of the candidate, and their ability to raise funds will be part of the judging process. However, Lopez said, candidates will receive help along the way if needed.
“We will help them with that and we are open to any new ideas for fundraising,” she said. “We will provide everything, such as National Beef will be donating hamburger for the burger feed at the soccer tournament on April 3. Those funds will help with the pageant. We will help them with fundraising whether it be with candy bars, bake sale, et cetera.”
All of the funds raised will go towards scholarships that will be paid out to the top three candidates, as well as scholarships paid out to local students throughout the year.
Fundraising, Lopez said, will not be the only aspect of the pageant.
“We will have some judging for the talents, motivational speeches,” she said. “They will receive scores from those as well – the motivational speeches and talent.
“We understand that not everyone can sing and not everyone can dance,” she continued. “So, we will help them out and give them options. We definitely want them all to do a motivational speech. We will work with them, we won’t put them on the spot. We want to get candidates, we don’t want to scare them away.
“This is something that is good for them,” she added. “It is not who is the prettiest, it is not about that. We will give them an option, they have to have something, everyone has a hidden talent. It could be just going the extra mile when they are around the public. We will be monitoring them. If we find a person who is going the extra mile, that gets them points as well.”
Lopez said it is likely a reference from teachers or employers may be a requirement as well this year.
“I was thinking about getting a survey together that they can take to their teachers possibly,” she said. “That way we can get references on these girls, just to learn more about them. It will be a way to get more feedback on who this person is and what they are like out in the public.”
Scholarships will be awarded to the top three contestants, Lopez said. However, all contestants will be rewarded for their participation.
“First place will be a $1,000 scholarship to the school of their choice, second place will be a $500 scholarship to the school of their choice and third place will receive a $250 scholarship to the school of their choice,” she said. “All participants will receive special gifts and prizes.”
Lopez encourages anyone of any ethnicity, who meets all of the requirements, to sign up by March 15.
“Right now, we are really stressing how important it is that we get candidates,” she said. “I think it would really boost their moral. It is something to be proud of – to be recognized in the public as a contestant. It helps them, it is a step closer to where they want to go with their education.
“Liberal is multi-cultural,” she added “We can celebrate together as well as progress together.”
March 15 is the deadline to sign up.
For further information, contact Lopez at 655-6644 or 626-0650 or Luz Hernandez at 482-3803 or 626-0605. The Cinco de Mayo Committee has a Facebook page that contains pageant information as well.
Lopez would like to thank the following sponsors that help make the pageant a possibility: Twinkle Nails, Crystal Nails, Beto Botas, Zapateria Torres, JCLS Hair Salon, Amazing Fashions, Liberal Chamber of Commerce, Liberal Recreation Center, Ayr Lanes, Geddy’s Photography and Mi Dulce Mexico.