Thirteen girls to take center stage at 6 p.m.


Little Miss Blueberry contestants display their trophies at pageant a few years ago. This year’s ‘Little Miss’ and ‘Jr. Miss Imlay City’ Pageant will take place Saturday from 6-8 p.m. at Imlay City High School.

IMLAY CITY — A long held tradition aimed at empowering girls will take place this Saturday, May 6, as the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce Festival Committee presents the ‘Little Miss’ and ‘Jr. Miss Imlay City’ pageant gets underway.

Thirteen girls will take center stage at the Imlay City High School Auditeria from 6-8 p.m. This year’s theme is ‘Girl Power,’ and features an iconic figure in female history, says pageant co-organizer Lorraine Filer.

“All the girls will be dressed as Rosie the Riveter,” she says, “and Rosie will be there as well.”

The ‘Rosie’ Filer’s referring to is Bette Kenward, an Imlay City resident whose grandmother Marion Chapin was part of the effort. Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce Board President Melissa Barrow will also address the crowd.

All four Jr. Miss and nine Little Miss contestants will be interviewed by five judges, perform two group dance numbers, showcase their own talent on stage, and answer a question at the microphone. Filer notes that the five judges are all former Little Miss Blueberry winners and/or contestants.

Co-organizer Nikki Sherman, Filer’s granddaughter, was also Little Miss Blueberry contestant in her youth.

“She participated for four years, and now she’s running the pageant,” Filer says. “I’m very proud of her.”

The family effort continues as Filer’s daughter-in-law, Trina Sherman, made all of the costumes.

Filer, who has been organizing the Little Miss pageants for more than 30 years, says it’s remarkable to see the participants transform throughout the experience.

“It’s very scary to get up in front of a bunch of people and do something,” Filer says. “I have always loved being with the girls and watching them blossom from being little girls to being able to perform on stage. It’s just awesome.”

Boosting ‘girl power’ is at the heart of the pageant, Filer adds.

“This is not a beauty pageant,” she says. “It is meant to give the girls self-confidence and self-esteem and belief in themselves.”

Winners will be given a special spot in the Imlay City Summer Fest Parade slated for August 11-12 downtown.