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So they contacted Miss America 2010, Caressa Cameron of Fredericksburg, Va., to see if she would attend. They hoped for the best but didn't expect it.
So when Cameron committed to attend the March benefit for Accomack County resident Courtney Bloxom and also waive her usual fee, Emily Pettine and her sister reacted like pageant winners.
"We started crying," she said.
Cameron will attend the inaugural Miss Hope Eastern Shore Pageant.All proceeds go to the family of Bloxom, a graduate of Arcadia High School who was involved in a single-car crash last May. She suffered a severe brain injury that left her in a coma for six weeks, during which she missed her high school graduation.
Bloxom is still recovering and, last month, returned to Accomack County to continue her recuperation at Shore LifeCare, a long-term care facility in Parksley. She undergoes three hours of speech, occupational and physical therapy daily to recover basic skills.
The Pettine sisters, with the help of their mother, Maureen, started the company Bling, which will coordinate an annual benefit pageant on the Eastern Shore. Emily Pettine was Miss Teen Maryland 2009 and Teen Miss Delmarva 2011.
"Everyone wants to help, and they don't know how," Emily Pettine said. "But just showing up at the pageant helps."
For contestants, the pageant will be comprised of an opening number that is not judged; a personal interview, consisting of 50 percent of the contestant's score; an onstage introduction, counting for 25 percent of the score; and evening gown session, with grading on grace, poise and confidence for the remaining 25 percent of the score.
There will be a silent auction of donated goods, including Vera Bradley merchandise, teeth whitening sessions and more. Businesses are donating the prizes, which include a photo shoot, hair and makeup at Vanity Hair Salon, dinner at Mallards in Onancock and limo service to these locations.
For the pageant, Bling is looking for ladies of all ages who are interested in community service and involvement. During her reign, the overall winner of Miss Hope Eastern Shore will participate in service-oriented events and mentor her younger sister queens and Little Miss Hope princesses.
Registration for the Miss Hope Pageant is $75 and payable in advance. However, if contestants refer a friend who registers, registration is $50. Age division spaces are limited.
Before the pageant begins, there will be a special crowning ceremony at 4 p.m. for all participants in the Little Miss Hope Eastern Shore Princess Tea. Girls ages 3-10 are encouraged to wear their prettiest party dresses and show off their natural beauty without makeup.
Little Miss Hope princesses will be crowned by the special guest queen and given an autographed photo of the guest queen. They will be given admission to the Miss Hope Eastern Shore Pageant, as well as an on-stage introduction during the pageant.
In addition, they will participate in holiday parades with their big sister queens and have the opportunity to join in volunteer service events throughout the year with their big sister queens. The registration fee to be a Little Miss Hope Eastern Shore Princess is $50.