Who will be Queen?
The Miss Perham Pageant officially became affiliated with the Miss Minnesota and Miss America pageants in 1984, the same year that Candice Doll started helping her parents run it as a child.
“I started helping by taping numbers to chairs and handing out programs,” she said in a phone interview.
Now, Doll is the director of both the Miss Perham and Miss Heart of the Lakes pageants, which will take place this year at the Perham High School auditorium on Friday, July 19 at 7 p.m.
The event is organized and run by a committee of volunteers, and is sponsored by local businesses and community groups, particularly the Perham Women of Focus, which pays the franchisement fee.
Doll explained that contestants for Miss Perham must be between 17 and 24 years of age and be a current student or graduate of Perham High School or live in Otter Tail County. Miss Heart of the Lakes contestants must go to school in, resident in, or be employed in Minnesota.
Contestants are judged by a panel of five judges in five separate categories: A 10-minute personal interview; an on-stage question; lifestyle and fitness in a swimsuit; a talent; and evening gown.
“The talent, interview, and on-stage question combined are 65 percent of the score,” Doll added.
Each contestant picks a “platform,” she explained, which is a cause they champion throughout the year, such as mental illness awareness, American Cancer Society research, diabetes, volunteering, and so on.
When crowned, Miss Perham and Miss Heart of the Lakes each win $1,000 college scholarships.
Previous winners have used those scholarships to get bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees from schools in Minnesota, North Dakota and elsewhere, said Doll.
The two winners will volunteer at events throughout the year, such as Perham’s International Turtle Races, and speak to schoolchildren about their platform.
“This year, Miss Perham did a 5k run/walk, and we’re going to continue that tradition to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” Doll said.
The winners will also gain eligibility to compete in the Miss Minnesota and, potentially, the Miss America pageants later in the year.