Annual Miss Oyster Pearl Pageant going ahead

The Miss Oyster Pearl Pageant will be taking place over two days this year, something a little different because of social distancing regulations, but organizers and participants alike are just happy the pageant is able to happen. Seven girls are taking part this year. From left to right: Keira MacKendrick, Miss Birch Hill WI; Chloe Ellis, Miss Community of Northam; Julie Harris, Miss Freeland WI; and Erin MacDougall, Miss Rural Municipality of Central Prince. Missing from photo are Cassie Doran, Miss Ellerslie Rite-Stop; Kassidy Gamble, Miss Burleigh Brothers Seafood; and Abby Yeo, Miss North American Auto Wreckers Ltd.   Jillian Trainor photo

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Keira MacKendrick and Erin MacDougall both grew up watching the Miss Oyster Pearl Pageant in Tyne Valley, and while the event has had to change because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re happy it’s able to go ahead this year.

“We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to fit everyone on stage because of the social distancing,” said Ms MacKendrick. “That way has been kind of hard to work around, but we’re doing pretty good, because we still are able to do most of our events, so that’s a good thing.”

Ms MacDougall agreed.

“We’re overcoming as much as we can, and as difficult as it may be, we’re a strong community,” she said. “We’ve shown that in the past year, I know that. We can do it, however it may be.”

Ms MacDougall has volunteered with the pageant for several years before deciding to take part this year, while for Ms MacKendrick, the pageant is almost a family tradition. Her aunt, Julie Ellis, was crowned several years ago, and her mother, and another aunt, along with many of her cousins, have also been in the pageant over the years.

Miss Oyster Pearl first took place in 1964, as part of a centennial event, before officially starting in 1965.

Rowena Grigg, co-chair of the pageant, which is part of the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival, said is a great tradition for the community.  She noted people are happy to hear that despite some parts of the festival not happening this year, the pageant is still going ahead.

“It’s part of the community,” she said. “If you let it go for this year, we just didn’t know what would happen down the road, so we decided to try and get what we could.”

Seven girls in total are taking part in the pageant this year. One thing both girls have enjoyed is being able to hang out together and get to know each other 

“We’re all heading off in the fall, so it’s a good time to get the girls from our community and from the surrounding communities to get together and kind of have a last kick of the can,” said Ms MacDougall.

Like the Miss Irish Moss Pageant in Tignish, the Miss Oyster Pearl pageant will be taking place over the course of two days. Fashion and talent will take place at Britannia Hall on July 31, and the evening wear, presentation of the community awards, and crowning will be at Green Park on August 2.

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