The Miss and Junior Miss Becker County Fair pageant was set to return this summer after being removed from the 2019 fair. But, the coronavirus pandemic has canceled its comeback.

"Unfortunately, here we are. Now we've got to wait until next year," Becky Schmitz said in a Thursday, June 11, phone interview.

Schmitz is the lead organizer for bringing the pageant back. It was removed in the winter of 2018 because of a lack of interest in contestants and the public, according to a previous Tribune article. After she found out the pageant was removed, Schmitz connected with previous titleholders and the fair board to get it back up and running.

Schmitz said that once the Miss America system canceled its competitions, she assumed that the Becker County Fair pageant would follow suit.

"I knew with the guidelines that you can't really hold a pageant and wear a mask," she said. "I really was hoping I could get creative and figure out a different way but ... I just couldn't figure out a good enough way."

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Finding contestants would have been difficult, Schmitz said, as she was going to contact schools to get the word out, but they all closed in March. Plus, most businesses that could have provided sponsorships didn't have extra money to give out, she said.

"I would feel bad going out and asking people for support when they need support themselves," Schmitz said. "Any avenue of what I wanted to do and kind of grow the program was gone."

The plans that Schmitz did have in place, like hosting a spring workshop, having a trailer in front of the fair's grandstands for the pageant and what crowns they would use, will roll over to next year.

"Now we have the next year to really do that (plan) and not rush things and take the time to put things together," she said.

The extra time is also an opportunity for girls interested in the pageant to start thinking about what they'd do for a talent, start practicing their interview skills or even do some of the shopping for it, Schmitz said.

"Start to plan yourself for what you would do," she said. "Most importantly, just continue to be kind in your community. You can continue to be a role model whether you have a pageant or not."

Get involved

For more information on the Miss and Junior Miss Becker County Fair pageant, or on future workshops, contact Becky Schmitz at beckyschmitz@vikinglandcsp.com or join the Miss/Jr. Miss Becker County Fair Pageant Facebook group.