JERSEY SHORE - Two local young ladies are vying for the crown in the 45th annual Queen Tiadaghton Contest, held every year in conjunction with the Jersey Shore Town Meeting Celebration.
They are Alyssa Lynn Fink, 18, daughter of Mark and Deanna Fink of Jersey Shore, and Elasha E. Brown, 16, daughter of Douglas Brown and Robin Butler of Jersey Shore. Alyssa will be attending Penn State University's Altoona campus in the fall. Elasha is a senior at Jersey Shore High School.
A queen's tea was held Sunday in the banquet hall at Jersey Shore's Independent Hose Co. to introduce the contestants. Judges Carmen and Terry Banfill of Lock Haven, and Jersey Shore Mayor Dennis Buttorff, used various criteria to score the candidates and also met with each one individually.
Two area young ladies are vying for the crown in the 2012 Queen Tiadaghton Contest. They met with judges on Sunday. From left are contestant Elasha Brown, Town Crier Cameron Hart, 2011 Tiadaghton Queen Sarah Eck, and contestant Alyssa Fink.
There's been a change in sponsorship of the queen contest this year. Ivanhoe Chapter of Eastern Star had sponsored the contest for nearly two decades, but has declined to participate this year, according to Mary Frantz, Queen Committee chairperson, and president of the Jersey Shore Town Meeting Inc.
Eastern Star member Amy Brooks explained, "Our membership is starting to get a little bit older and we did not have enough help to make it happen the way it should happen," said Brooks.
"Jersey Shore Town Meeting didn't want the tradition to die so we continued on with it," said Frantz, obviously disappointed that only two contestants had applied for the honor of being crowned queen. Last year, there were six candidates, she said.
Frantz is already making changes in hopes next year's contest brings more candidates. She's called former queen contest chairperson Leah Sieber to help. Leah, who moved from this area two years ago, has agreed to help with the contest again.
Sieber has already begun brainstorming. She said next year there will be more public relations before the event to encourage eligible girls to participate. She said the committee will also make applications more accessible by putting them in stores around town and possibly on line.
Sieber has asked former Tiadaghton Queen Emily Cook to be co- chairperson next year. Cook was Queen Tiadaghton for the 50th year celebration in 2010.
"Being queen, I became close to the people who make this town what it is. I want to get more people involved because a lot of them are not aware that the age to compete is 16 to 21. I want people to be aware of that," said Cook.
Each of the candidates and the 2012 Town Crier, Jersey Shore High School senior Cameron Hart will be featured in the annual street parade held during the celebration. Hart, 18, is the son of Robert and Sara Hart of Cogan Station.
The parade begins at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 5.
Following the parade, the "Baby Sweethearts" will be announced and then the 2012 Queen Tiadaghton will be crowned by the reigning Queen Tiadaghton Sarah Eck. The events will be held in the gazebo at the borough's recreation area, where a week-long carnival is planned. Fireworks on Saturday night, July 7, conclude this year's July 4 celebration.