During the interview portion of Saturday’s Miss Washtenaw County pageant, one of the contestants was asked this question: What is your response to those who say Miss America is outdated or irrelevant?
Her answer: “Come to a local pageant.”
The Chronicle was already in the audience of about 200 people sitting in the chilly auditorium of Chelsea High School. Most of them seemed connected to the pageant in some way, cheering on a friend or family member. Several audience members were wearing sparkling tiaras and sashes, as current or former title holders: Miss Oakland County, Miss Tip of the Mitt, Miss River Raisin Festival and others. The current Miss Michigan, Ashlee Baracy, and Miss Illinois, Katie Lorenz – both former Miss Washtenaw County winners – were on hand, as were the parents of the current Miss America, Kirsten Haglund (a Miss Michigan from Farmington Hills).
None of these audience members needed convincing that the pageant was relevant.