PARKERSBURG - Purple was the color of the day on Saturday during the 2012 Crowns for Memories Pageant at Blennerhassett Middle School for the Alzheimer's Association.
"This year we have 25 contestants from the ages of zero to adults," said Julie Warden with the event. "We are hoping it grows in the future."
Tara Casto, of Charleston, brought her daughter Carsyn, 2, to the event in hopes of her being Toddler Miss Alzheimer's Association.
Carsyn Casto, 15 months, of Charleston, is made pageant-ready by her mother, Tara Casto, left, and aunt Kim Newhouse before the 2012 Crowns for Memories Pageant at Blennerhassett Middle School on Saturday for the Alzheimer’s Association. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
"We only do the pageants that are tied to really good causes and the Alzheimer's Association is a great one," Casto said.
Alisha Carmichael, of Belpre, brought her daughter Leah, 3, to the event in memory of her mother.
"My mom passed away of Alzheimer's and this is for her," Carmichael said. "I also have a team that participates in the walk and this is just an extension of that."
There were five children's age divisions from babies to 13-year-olds: Baby Miss Alzheimer's Association, Toddler Miss Alzheimer's Association, Tiny Miss Alzheimer's Association, Little Miss Alzheimer's Association and Pre-Teen Miss Alzheimer's Association.
All of the children were encouraged to dress in their favorite "Go Purple for Alzheimer's" attire.
The older pageant contestants include Teen, Miss, Ms. and Mrs. categories that ranged from 14-years-old to adults.
"We wanted everyone who wanted to participate to join us," Warden said.
The winners of this year's pageant will have the opportunity to attend Alzheimer's Association events in both West Virginia and Ohio to represent the organization.
Wendy Hamilton with the Alzheimer's Association West Virginia Chapter in Parkersburg, said the event was to help the chapter reach this year's $47,000 goal.
"We were about $1,000 short of our goal after September's walk and we wanted to do something different," she said. "I think with this pageant we really thought outside of the box."
More than 48,000 West Virginians live with Alzheimer's disease and this number is set to triple by 2050 as Baby Boomers age, Hamilton said.
Statistics also state that every 68 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease, which is listed as the sixth leading cause of death in the country and the fifth leading cause of death in people 65-years and older.
"It is a frightening disease for those with it and their families to go through because they become lost," Hamilton said.
The funds raised through the pageant, walk and by other organizations on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association go to help the local chapter continue its programs to assist the families of those with the devastating disease.