Summer has officially arrived, and Gold Bar’s Gold Dust Days event is right around the corner.
And you can’t have Gold Dust Days without Gold Dust Royalty.
This year’s Miss Gold Dust Pageant will be held on Friday, July 25 at 4 p.m., with contestants arriving at 3:30 p.m. for check-in. The event will take place at Gold Bar Elementary School and all are welcome to attend. Admission is free, but guests are strongly encouraged to bring an item of food to donate to the pageant food drive.
Since taking over the Miss Gold Dust pageant last year, directors Patty Baller and her daughter, Katelyn, have broadened the competition to include a major emphasis on community service. The multi-faceted, pageant-style competition features traditional events such as talent and formal wear, but also includes the opportunity for the girls to give back to their community not only during the pageant, but all year round.
“It’s not a beauty pageant,” said Patty. “It’s more of a community service pageant.”
The pageant will award Miss Gold Dust titles in seven different age categories including Tiny Miss (3 – 4); Little Miss (5 – 7), Junior Miss (8 – 10); Pre-Teen Miss (11 – 12); Teen Miss (13 – 15) and Miss (16 – 18). Brand new to the program this year is the Baby Miss division for babies aged 6 months to two years.
Gold Dust title winners are chosen based on competitions in formal wear, photogenic, interview and introduction. The structure of each interview competition is based on the age of the participants and varies in methodology.
Several events will be held for the contestants to interact with the reigning royalty, receive mentoring and practice the production number that will be performed at the pageant. The first event will take place at Gold Bar Elementary on June 30.
“I want everyone to excel and I want everyone to feel good about what they do,” said Patty.
After the workshop, a session will be held on July 14 in which the girls participate in the interview portion of the competition. All age divisions will complete their interviews during this session except for the Tiny Miss division, in which contestants will be interviewed at the main competition on July 25.
After the interview competition, Patty and Katelyn will host a slumber party which will be held on Thursday, July 17 at Gold Bar Elementary.
Rico’s Pizza will provide pizza for the slumber party event which will include additional mentoring and practicing for the main competition.
In addition to the seven Miss Gold Dust “Queen” titles, awards are given in several optional categories including Cover Model, Ambassador, Miss Congeniality and Overall Talent. Also, in this year’s competition, one of the reigning Gold Dust “Queens” will be crowned “Queen of Queens,” a title which will be awarded to the girl who has made the most appearances and accomplished the most community service over the past year.
In fulfillment of their pageant obligations, the reigning Miss Gold Dust Queens have spent countless hours participating in fundraisers and other events. The community service aspect is prevalent from the very beginning of the competition; the pageant itself is a food drive, with all donations going to benefit the Sultan Food Bank.
The contestant who brings in the most donated food items and refers the most girls to participate in the pageant will be crowned the Gold Dust Ambassador. Last year’s Ambassador, Jennessa Erler, was only three years old when she won the title.
Throughout the year Miss Gold Dust Queens have volunteered at many Sky Valley events including Sultan’s Easter egg hunt; the Sky Valley Chamber’s auction event; Winterfest; the Christmas tree lighting in Sultan; the Christmas parade in Gold Bar; the Volunteers of America Giving Tree; Gold Bar’s National Night Out and much more.
The girls set up tents at Monroe High School during this year’s Relay for Life event that took place from May 31 to June 1. The 24-hour American Cancer Society event raises money to fight cancer and spread awareness. It seeks to recognize and celebrate the disease’s survivors, as well as honor those who have lost their lives.
“They have it as a 24-hour event because cancer never takes a break,” said Katelyn.
In addition to participating in the event, several Miss Gold Dust girls volunteered to donate their hair. One girl, the reigning Gold Dust Teen Miss Lin’z Lucey, shaved her entire head.
“I actually had people come up to me and ask me if I was upset because we had our pageant coming up,” said Patty, who explained that she was the opposite of upset. She actually couldn’t have been more proud of her girls who, including Katelyn and herself, donated a total of 42 inches of hair at the event.
“Some of the moms did it with them too,” said Patty. “So that was really cool.”
Twenty-year-old Katelyn has been involved with the Miss Gold Dust Days Pageant since its inception in 2007. After achieving runner-up in her first year of competition, Katelyn was crowned Miss Gold Dust in 2008. She has gone on to compete in several pageants, winning numerous titles and has mentored many Sky Valley girls who have become involved in pageants.
She is currently the Miss Sky Valley Queen of Queens.
A 2012 Sultan High School graduate, Katelyn divides her time between the Sultan School District, where she works as a paraeducator in the district’s autism classroom, and the Sky Valley Academy in Monroe, where she is a cheerleading coach for West Coast Flight. She is also an assistant coach for the West Coast Flight’s special needs team, a job she has really come to enjoy.
“It’s amazing,” said Katelyn. “I can be having a bad day and by the time I walk out of there my day has turned.”
Katelyn is skilled at doing hair and makeup, as well as being a mentor to other girls. Being co-director of the Miss Gold Dust pageant has been a way for her to demonstrate her abilities in other ways, as well; Katelyn is responsible for choreographing the Miss Gold Dust pageant production number, which will be performed at the main event on July 25.
“I like to stay busy,” said Katelyn.
The cost to compete in the Miss Gold Dust Days pageant is $30 per contestant. There are also two categories of optional competitions that cost $5 each to participate in, but participation in these optional competitions is not mandatory. Each contestant will go home with a trophy, crown, sash, goody bag and event t-shirt printed by Sky Valley Ink.
Scholarships are available for families who need assistance with the fees. Contact Patty Baller at (425) 238-0289 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see the Miss Gold Dust Days website for additional information: http://pattyballer.wix.com/miss-gold-dust.
The Miss Gold Dust pageant is seeking additional businesses to help sponsor the event and help fund scholarships for the girls. Businesses that become sponsors will enjoy advertising in the event’s program and at the main Gold Dust Days event.