The Star-Herald

Memorial pageant crowns 9

CARIBOU, Maine — The fourth annual Miss Northeast Maine Pageant crowned nine area ladies on April 28 at the Caribou Performing Arts Center.

Winners for the evening were Danielle Kirschmann, Mrs. Northeast Maine; Samantha Lewis, Ms. Northeast Maine; Brittany Page, Miss Northeast Maine; Meagan Willis, Teen Miss Northeast Maine; Olivia Lajoie, Junior Teen Miss Northeast Maine; Emma Bragg, Pre-Teen Miss Northeast Maine; Alivia Smith, Miss Northeast Maine Princess; Aryanna Grivois, Miss Northeast Maine Junior Princess; and Kiana Puig, Grand Hospitality Queen.

Ashley Caron directed the event, with Kim Parent assisting.

Caron created the nonprofit pageant in memory of Abby Ladner of Fort Fairfield, who passed away in 2013. Ladner, whom Caron coached, had been the Northern Maine Queen just before her death.

Caron, herself a state and national pageant titleholder, said, “Abby’s death had a huge impact on me, as it did everyone in the community. I finally pieced my dreams together after her passing and started my Northeast Maine Pageant in her memory.”

To help keep Ladner’s memory alive, Caron organizes collections of toiletries and other useful items, which go into special bags for families enduring time in the hospital with a loved one — a tradition Ladner began.

“All my contestants are required to bring in at least 10 essential travel-size items that are turned over to Abby’s family at the end to make up Abby’s Angel Bags, which are distributed to hospitals in Aroostook County to families that have to endure long stays with their family members while they are in the hospital — as Abby did.”

Caron said she stresses “positive pageantry” and urges participants to adopt her own personal platform: “Don’t let your past be your prison, let it be your platform.”

The Miss Northeast Maine Pageant is a preliminary event to the Maine Academic Scholarship Pageant, which is held in Biddeford in August.

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