Queens sign autographs downtown

Published 10:30 pm Friday, June 3, 2016

The stores of downtown Vicksburg were filled with crowns, sashes and girls of all ages seeking to meet the teen pageant contestants.

Half of the contestants in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant signed autographs in multiple stores downtown Friday morning. The pageant began Thursday and will have its finale Saturday night.

Karys Creel, 11, was in Peterson’s getting Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Grace Post’s autograph and was making her rounds to gather every 2016 contestant’s autograph as well. She said she was too busy to attend the competition this weekend so she made time to meet the contestants at the signings.

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“I don’t really want to be in the pageant, but I really like seeing the girls put the effort in. They’re leaders,” Creel said.

Blush and Bashful Boutique hosted Miss Tupelo’s Outstanding Teen Rachel Canup and Miss Madison Metro’s Outstanding Teen Helen McDougald for the autograph signing.

Canup was having a good time meeting new friends and catching up with old ones. She said it is strange to hand out autographs sometimes because she remembers being the little girl asking the pageant contestants for their autograph.

“I wanted to be just like them and now I’m the girl the little girls look up to. It’s such an honor,” Canup said.

McDougald said signing autographs was becoming more natural to her, and she is building up her speed and starting to write faster. She likes to add messages with encouraging words to her autograph.

“I know they are going to look back at them and look for the compliments, and I hope that boosts their self-esteem,” McDougald said.

The contestants also trade autograph cards with each other as a memento of their time together in the pageant.

“It’s like trading gifts almost,” McDougald said.

The boutique’s owner Holly Claborn likes being involved with the pageants as much as possible. She said the autograph-signing event helps business and also creates a fun atmosphere in the stores.

“We love having them here,” Claborn said. “It brings people downtown, its good to meet different people from different parts of Mississippi and out of state. It’s actually been pretty busy.”

Miss Northland’s Outstanding Teen princess Caroline Love, 7 almost 8, and Miss Dixie’s Outstanding Teen princess Mabry Love, 6, were using Friday morning in downtown to mingle with the contestants and other princesses.

“We love Vicksburg,” mom Stephanie said. “It’s beautiful town and it’s fun to come.”

The family came to participate in the pageant from Oxford and support their cousin Miss Dixie’s Outstanding Teen Sidney Kimble. The girls were enjoying meeting all the contestants during the autograph signing.

“I think we’re going to try to get them all,” Caroline said. “I’m going to hang them on my wall.”

“Me too,” Mabry said.