Although the program is aimed to encourage young women to be their best — emphasizing the importance of being healthy, studious, responsible, ambitious and involved in their community — the opportunity to try on the glamorous designer dresses created an atmosphere of anticipation.
“We were able to purchase the dresses because of the generous donations from the Cleveland/Bradley County community,” noted Tennessee’s Junior Miss board and state committee member Donna Lowe.
Lowe and Traci Fant, who is director and co-chair with her husband Charles Fant, were able to choose the special dresses online. It was a big responsibility choosing three dresses similar in style, yet uniquely different on a few details; however, both Lowe and Fant took pleasure in making the selections. When they saw the reaction from the girls, they said it was gratifying.
“They love the color of the dresses. Many of them have told us they will be wearing the dresses to dances, to dinner and other events,” Lowe said.
With only a few hours until the dresses are debuted on stage for the opening performance, seamstress and volunteer Pat Longwith will tweak, stitch and make alterations to tailor each dress to custom fit the girls.
Devon Vaughn, Cleveland’s Junior Miss, is happy with her dress. She thinks having three alternating colors and styles is splendid.
“I like my dress. Blue is my favorite color. I don’t think I will need any alterations because it fits me well,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn will be wearing her natural-color, self-expression dance shoes with her dress.
Contestant Katye Brock of Tullahoma said she will need a few alterations for her magenta- colored dress, which she will wear with comfortable colored dancing shoes.
“It’s a little big, but Iove the color. It looks good with my skin tone,” Brock said.
“Purple is one of my favorite colors,” said Sarah Stokely from Newport. “I like the sparkle on the dress. It will match the sparkle on the silver heels I am wearing with it.”
The Junior Miss preliminary program will be Friday and the finals Saturday at 7 each night at Lee University’s Dixon Center.