COVID-19 may have greatly impacted the original plans for the 2020 Rain Day Festival, but six young ladies from around Greene County will not let the pandemic dampen their spirits and enthusiasm as they compete for the coveted crown of Miss Rain Day.
The six teens will compete in the 42nd annual Miss Rain Day Scholarship Pageant, which will begin virtually at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 26.
This year’s pageant – which is sponsored by Rain Day Scholarship Inc. – will be different from pageants past, as COVID-19 and the mandates set by the state Department of Health and Gov. Wolf is preventing the pageant from being held indoors. Rather, the 2020 pageant will be available for viewing live online on the Miss Rain Day Pageant’s Facebook page.
Pageant Director Jeanine Henry said although COVID-19 created many unexpected challenges for this year’s pageant and contestants, the six teens are excited about the opportunity to compete for the coveted crown.
“To say 2020 has been challenging is an understatement,” Henry said. “However, this group of six contestants, along with (2019 Miss Rain Day) Katie Swauger, have proven resilient and will not be undone.”
Henry said formulating a “Plan B” for the pageant was an arduous task, but she is grateful for the support given by many people to help make the pageant happen this year.
“My advice to anyone planning an event would be to have a backup plan and not just one ... you must be able to improvise, adapt and overcome the obstacles and challenges presented,” she said. “With the latest directive from the governor’s office, the Miss Rain Day Pageant will now be virtual (on Facebook Live), and I am forever grateful to all the people and resources behind the event coming together to make it happen.”
Many of the pageant’s traditions will continue. The contestants will be judged on the basis of personal interview, sportswear, talent and evening gown competitions. Awards will be presented to those with top scores in these areas as well as Miss Personality, Miss Photogenic, the Spirit Award and the Scholastic Achievement Award. Participation awards will be given to all contestants.
A Rain Maker Award will be presented to the contestant who collected the most sponsorships, and the John O’Hara Award will be given to the contestant who composes the best essay on what Rain Day means to them.
The Remo C. Bertugli Memorial Award will also be presented, which is judged from essays submitted by the contestants on how a volunteering experience changed their life.
Despite’s COVID-19’s limitations, the summer has provided several special activities for the contestants.
Memories & Melodies Photography provided photogenic headshots to each contestant.
Miss Rain Day and the 2020 contestants visited the WANB radio station where, along with “Crazy” Dougie Wilson, they taped an interview for broadcast prior to the pageant.
The contestants and Miss Rain Day also took part in a challenge at the Xscape Room in Morgantown, W.Va., followed by dinner at Fusion Steakhouse.
As the contestants’ community service project, 2019 Miss Rain Day Katie Swauger, organized a day of volunteering at Corner Cupboard Food Bank. On July 22, the contestants volunteered their time at the Cornerstone Cupboard Food Bank in preparation of distribution day at the Greene County Fairgrounds, an event they also assisted with.
In preparation for this, they held two food drives at the Waynesburg Farmers Market to collect much-needed items.
Finally, the contestants will participate in the virtual Rain Day Festival on Wednesday, July 29.
Those competing for the title of Miss Rain Day 2020 are, in contestant order:
n Ashanti Cole, the 17-year old daughter of Jessica Cole and Reginald Williams of Waynesburg. She is a senior at Waynesburg Central High School. She will be performing a vocal selection to “Girl On Fire.”
n Molly Mylan, the 17-year-old daughter of Barry and Darla Mylan of Rices Landing. She is a senior at Jefferson-Morgan Jr. Sr. High School. She will be performing a vocal selection to “The Climb.”
n Emily Bennett, the 16-year old daughter of Katie and Tim Bennett of Mt. Morris. She is homeschooled and a junior through the Central Greene School District. She will be performing a saxophone solo to “It Don’t Mean A Thing” by Duke Ellington.
n Faith Andrews, the 16-year old daughter Crystal and Robert Andrews of Waynesburg. She will be a junior at Waynesburg Central High School. She will be performing a jazz routine to “Come Dance With Me.”
n Isabelle Tedrow, the 16-year old daughter of Tarisa and Ken Tedrow of Jefferson. She will be a junior at Jefferson Morgan Jr. Sr. High School. She will be performing a contemporary acrobatic routine to “Way Down We Go.”
n Alison Grace Blair, the 18-year-old daughter of Laurie and Mike Blair of Waynesburg. She will be a freshman at the York College of Pennsylvania. She will be performing a contemporary routine to “LJ.”
The crown will be presented by Katie Swauger, Miss Rain Day 2019. Katie is the 17-year-old daughter of Judy and Kenneth Swauger of Carmichaels and is a senior at Carmichaels Area School District, where she is a member of the National Honor Society.
In school, she is a varsity cheerleader and has been in two school musicals. She is an assistant teacher at her dance studio, For the Love of Dance, where she takes acro, jazz, ballet tech, tap, hip hop and gymnastics. She also participates in weekly personal training sessions with her gymnastics instructor.
Katie enjoys working with younger children. She gets to teach younger children at dance and has volunteered at vacation Bible school for the past 4 years. This past summer was her second year working for Greene County Parks and Recreation as a day camp counselor.
The crown bearer for this year’s pageant is Blair Pierce, the 7-year-old daughter of Jim and Megan Pierce of Sycamore. She attends West Greene Elementary Center and will be entering second grade this fall. Her activities include dancing and cheerleading. She enjoys going for buggy rides with her dad and sister Brynn, reading, playing learning games and helping with chores on the farm. She plans on being a farmer when she is older.
For more information, visit the Miss Rain Day Pageant’s Facebook page or go online at www.missraindaypageant.org.