Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival . . . registration has begun

Glittering, multi-colored stones graced the various pageant crowns custom-made to reflect historic Sicilian crowns were unveiled for the festival board members at their last meeting on January 25. Kim Ragusa, Festival Pageant Director, brought the actual crowns to the Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival meeting last Monday, January 26 as she gave her pageant update to the group.

"Robin Abrams, Festival Pageant Co-Director, and I recently went on the radio to promote the Festival Pageant," said Kim Ragusa. "I brought the actual crowns for all of you at tonight's meeting."

The Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Pageants for all age divisions will be held on Saturday, February 14, at the Independence Middle School Gym. The $50 entry fee deadline is Wednesday, February 11, for baby, youth, and teen pageants with no exceptions. Checks or money orders must be made payable to Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Pageant. The $75 entry fee & photogenic fee of $10 deadline is also Wednesday February 11, with no exceptions for the Miss Queen pageant. Contestants participating in all pageant divisions must be from one of the following six parishes Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Helena, St. John, St. Tammany, or Washington Parishes.

Registration for the Baby, 0 - 23 Months Division will take place at noon with the actual competition planned for 12:30 p.m. Registration for the Youth Division is planned for 1:30 p.m. with this division's actual competition planned for 2 p.m. Times are unpredictable depending on the number of contestants.  

Age Divisions for Boys are 0-11months, 12-23 months, and 2-3 years. Age Divisions for Girls are 0-11 months, 12-23 months, 2-3 years, 4-5 years, 6-8 years, 9-11 years, 12-14 years, and 15-17 years.

Boy's and Girl's Divisions up to age eight will compete in Sunday's Best which is dressing as if attending church or a special occasion and can include very natural make-up to enhance beauty.

Girl's Divisions nine and up compete in formal pageant wear.

Everyone is invited to participate in the 2009 Festival Parade held on Saturday, March 15. A float will not be available.

"The Miss Division is for 18-23 year olds with more contest rules and more responsibilities required of them," said Kim Ragusa, Festival Pageant Director. "Some of the rules are that contestants must not be married nor have been married and without children."

Miss Contestants must be a resident of the same parishes as for the Baby - Teen competitions. Miss Contestants may not hold another title at the time of competing. Miss Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival cannot compete for another fair, festival, or any pageant title for one year. The Miss Queen will be required to attend at least 15 events during her reign and all events in Independence and Tangipahoa Parish. The Miss Queen must attend all festival events. The festival will be held March 13-15. If the Queen fulfills her duties successfully, she will be given a $1,000 Scholarship at the end of her reign. Required Interviews will be held at Independence City Hall on Saturday, February 14th, starting at 9 a.m. The pageant begins at 7 p.m. at the Independence Middle School Gym.

Miss contestants must be of Italian descent. A family tree must be completed with the application. Miss entry fee is $75 with photogenic $10 fee with the deadline of Feb. 11, with no exceptions. Also, make ckecks payable to Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Pageant.

There will be a meeting at Independence City Hall on February 11, at 6 p.m. the same day as the application and fee deadline.

For more information e-mail

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