The Miss New Hampshire program has announced plans for an in-person competition this spring.
Board of Directors Vice President Bill Haggerty said the decision was made to hold the competition on April 30 and May 1 after the Miss America Organization indicated that it intends to crown a winner sometime this year in recognition of its 100th anniversary.
Haggerty said the board will distribute $100,000 in scholarship awards this year because, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of last year’s competition, fundraising did not stop.
“The general feeling of the board is that we should really increase our scholarships this year,” Haggerty said.
“Every young woman that appears on that stage will walk away with $1,700 just for being there.”
Miss New Hampshire 2021 will receive a $20,000 scholarship award. The first runner-up will receive $10,000, Haggerty said.
Typically, Miss New Hampshire earns $15,000 for winning the title, Haggerty said.
The competition usually takes place at Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, where the organization is headquartered, but this year the production was moved to Manchester because organizers weren’t sure if they could depend on the theatre being open in time for the annual event.
Miss New Hampshire will take place at the Armory Exhibit Hall at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Manchester.
Haggerty said that means bringing staging, lighting and sound to an unfamiliar location.
“The advantage is that the adjacent ballrooms are very large and can serve as dressing rooms for the candidates, so we’ll be able to keep them socially distanced,” Haggerty said.
Haggerty said COVID-19 safety is on the top of the priority list.
Competitors will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, of a full vaccination card or proof that they have had COVID-19 within 90 days and are not infectious.
“It’s a competition that is occurring under very different circumstances, nothing like we had in the past,” Haggerty said.
Miss New Hampshire Sarah Tubbs, of Sandown, will be the longest serving titleholder in the state’s history because she continued to serve after the competition was canceled last year.
On Monday, Tubbs said because she has held the title for almost two years, it has been hard deciding what her next steps will be.
In the meantime, Tubbs is focusing on supporting this year’s competitors and making sure the crowning goes off without a hitch.
“I’m super excited. I was so nervous that we would have to settle for a virtual competition and not have audience members,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs said the feeling of being on the Miss New Hampshire stage is what led her to fall in love with the organization.
“That’s the thing that brought me back, the energy I felt when I was on stage,” Tubbs said.
“The production team puts so much effort into making each candidate feel like Miss New Hampshire.”
Tubbs is also happy the organization will be awarding $100,000 to competitors.
She earned $40,000 in scholarship money through local and state competitions prior to taking home the title in April 2019.
At the Miss New Hampshire competition, Tubbs earned scholarships totaling $17,000.
As space will be limited to about 300 audience members for the in-person competition, Tubbs suggests people who are curious about participating watch the live stream of the preliminary and final competitions.
The preliminary competitions will take place April 30 at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.
The final competition takes place on May 1 at 6 p.m.
For more information, call the Derry office at 437-9027.