DERRY — Fifty years ago, Elizabeth Emerson captured the Miss New Hampshire crown and went on to Atlantic City to compete in the Miss America pageant with other contestants from across the country.
Much of the pageant competition remains — contestants are judged in swimsuit — although today it’s for fitness, in evening gown and on talent.
Emerson will be on hand Saturday night as this year’s 28 contestants take to the stage of the Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy for the 68th annual Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program competition.WMUR-TV sports director Jamie Staton and Miss New Hampshire 2013 Samantha Russo will emcee the event.
The winner will receive at least $13,000 in scholarships. Last year, $72,000 in scholarships were awarded to 28 women taking part in the statewide competition.
One thing not available a half-century ago was, of course, the Internet. And this year, as in the past few years, online users have the opportunity to select one of the 12 semi-finalists by voting at https://www.facebook.com/MissNH. Voting ends April 30.
The competition spans three days — Thursday through Saturday, May 1 to May 3 — and begins with preliminary rounds on Thursday and Friday nights, starting at 7 p.m. The final competition and crowning taking place on Saturday when the pageant starts at 6 p.m.Contestants are scored on a scale of 1 through 10 for talent, which accounts for 35 percent; interview, 25 percent; evening wear, 20 percent; lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit, 15 percent, and on stage question, 5 percent.
The 28 women competing for the 2014 title are: Mary Beth Bjork, 23, of Derry, Miss Amoskeag Falls; Amy Soraghan, 18, of East Hampstead, Miss Bedford; Skylar Wood, 22, of Littleton, Miss Berlin-Gorham; Jessica Avelar, 19, of Nashua, Miss Capital Area; Elena Barker, 23, of Nashua, Miss Deerfield Fair; Jillian Granucci, 23, of Manchester, Miss Gate City, and Megan Cooley, 19, of Auburn, Miss Greater Derry.
Also, Kennedy Chaney, 17, of Raymond, Miss Hooksett; Mallory Coulombe, 21, of Gorham, Miss Keene Area; Linda Montminy, 21, of Center Barnstead, Miss Kingston; Kelsy Ferdinando, 21, of Derry, Miss Lake Sunapee Region; Kendall Wipff, 21, of Goffstown, Miss Lakes Region; Brooke Ross, 22, of New London, Miss Littleton Area, and Devenn Glickman, 23, of Manchester, Miss Londonderry.
Other competitors include Joanna Shields, 20, of Keene, Miss Manchester; Nichole Iacuzio, 23, of Derry, Miss Monadnock Region; Sarah Mousseau, 23, of Stratham, Miss Portsmouth Area; Brittany Dube, 24, of Atkinson, Miss Rockingham County; Katy Piszczek, 22, of Hooksett, Miss Seacoast; Michelle Mayer, 20, of Londonderry, Miss Strafford County; and Michelle Vegliante, 20, of Merrimack, Miss Stratham Fair.
Others include Melissa Beauvais, 22, of Manchester, Miss University; Kat Howland, 21, of Dover, Miss Weirs Beach; Stephanie Iacuzio, 21, of Derry, Miss Winnipesaukee; Holly Blanchard, 22, of Derry, Miss Greater Plaistow; Alyssa Mixon, 23, of Bedford, Miss Merrimack; Samantha Mackes, 17, of Belmont, Miss Granite State, and Rylee Field, 21, of New London, Miss Auburn.
All stages of the competition are open to the public. Tickets for the preliminary rounds are $10 each, while tickets for Saturday’s final competition are priced from $35 to $50. Tickets can be purchased at the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program Office, 20 East Broadway, second floor, or call 437-9027.