By Adam Pack
A long standing but now dormant Ronceverte tradition will be returning this winter, as the Snow Queen Pageant will be held for the first time in 29 years.
Originally held under the auspices of the Ronceverte Rotary Club to generate funds for the city’s Christmas Stocking program, the first Snow Queen Pageant was held sometime in the 1930s. Young women from each high and junior high school in the area would be nominated within their school, and then compete against one another in what amounted to a county-wide beauty pageant.
In the days before widespread school consolidation, each town had their own small schools, so this truly was a matter of local pride for Greenbrier County communities. Voters were to call in to local station WRON to vote for their preferred candidates. After voting was tallied, a Snow Queen would be crowned.
This tradition continued roughly uninterrupted for nearly 60 years, with the last Snow Queen Pageant being held in 1992. By that time, school consolidation had made it difficult to have enough contestants and the pageant was abandoned.
But Mark Mengel and the people of Ronceverte have it in mind to revive this classic Christmas time tradition.
This time around, Mengel and the city hope to provide a whole winter court, complete with King, Prince, Princess, and of course, the Snow Queen herself. Area children age 8-15 will be eligible for Prince or Princess, those 16-21 will be eligible for King and Queen, and as for an added measure of holiday merriment, applicants 55+ will compete to be named Mr. and Mrs. Clause 2021.
The victorious Prince and Princess will receive a Visa gift card equal to the amount of votes they received, The King and Queen will receive scholarship checks to the amount of votes received, and the winners of Mr. and Mrs. Clause will be given their own ugly sweater, and their choice of a Ronceverte charitable organization to award a donation in the amount of their winning vote total; the more votes, the more money each winner will receive.
Registration for contestants, as well links to vote, are on www.roncevertewv.org, in the “About” section, under the “pageant” tab. Registrations will close Nov. 28, and all voting will be online only.
Further festivities associated with the Snow Queen Pageant include the return of 1992 Snow Queen Chasidy Fugate, who will be crowning the winners at the ceremony. All members of the snow court will then be invited to be featured in the city’s upcoming Christmas Parade.
All past Snow Queens are encouraged to come to the historic revival of this warm Ronceverte tradition.
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