PARKERSBURG - A pageant to raise funds for a local domestic violence shelter took place Saturday with a turnout of contestants that surprised organizers.
Emily Larkins, executive director of the Family Crisis Intervention Center, Parkersburg's domestic violence shelter, said the Safe Haven Pageant at the Parkersburg Art Center was a first for the shelter
"We were approached by the person who is putting this on as a potential fundraiser," she said. "We thought 'Why not, give it a shot and see how it's received in the community.'
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Mar’Kail Ramsey, of Parkersburg, son of Tiffany Akers and Joseph Ramsey, won the Tiny King division in the first Safe Haven Pageant at the Parkersburg Art Center.
"Obviously it has been well-received."
Larkins said Saturday's inaugural pageant drew 60 competitors from those just a few months old to adults in a Mrs. division. She said the person who suggested the pageant wants to remain anonymous.
Larkins said some of the contestants signed up for the pageant Saturday morning a few hours before the event began.
Other Safe Haven Pageant Winners
Baby Miss: Laekyn Hart
Tiny Miss: Briley Taylor
Tiny King: Mar'Kail Ramsey
Junior King: Terrance Metz
Little Queen: Gwyneth Rauch
Junior Queen: Rylee Harner
PreTeen Queen: Sydney Bohn
Teen Queen: Krystal Starcher
Miss: Mercedes Trescott
Mrs.: Michelle Edens
Crowd Favorite: Morgan Metz
"The entry fee was $35 and there was a $1 admission charge," she said. "All the proceeds benefited the domestic violence program."
Larkins said the pageant was also to bring awareness to domestic violence in the community.
"Anything we can do to bring awareness to domestic violence since it does happen in our community and help people understand it can affect anybody," she said. "There is help out there, especially with the Family Crisis Intervention Center."
Larkins said planning for a second pageant is already in the planning stage and that may include a different venue.
One of the winners, Terrance Metz, 9, said he was happy to be the winner for Junior King division.
"The only thing I did to get ready was we went out and bought my clothes," he said.
Metz said he was asked by his mom is he wanted to be in the pageant.
"Mom asked me if I wanted to do this and I said 'yes,'" he said.