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Deadline for Miss Watermelon is fast approaching

By By Rebecca Walker
The deadline for entries in the Miss Watermelon Festival Beauty Pageant is fast approaching. The date of the deadline is set for Friday, July 27.
The pageant will take place the next day, Saturday, July 28 beginning with the 0-11 month old girls at 10 a.m. in the Russellville High School auditorium.
"This is a great pageant for our local girls to enter," said Lisa Stockton, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. "We hope it increases their confidence and that they have a good time doing it."
The pageant has taken place for almost 20 years in correlation with the Watermelon Festival, which is in its 26th year. In 2006, more than 120 girls took part in the competition. So far, more than 80 have signed up for this year's pageant.
The entry fee is $25. To additionally participate in the secondary categories of Most Photogenic, Best Outfit or Evening Gown, and Prettiest Smile, the fee is $40.
The pageant for the seven-year-old age group will begin at 1 p.m. The age groups continue through age 21.
All contestants must be a Franklin County resident, unmarried, have no children, and must not have been suspended or expelled from school.
The winner of the 18 to 21-year-old division will be crowned Miss Watermelon Queen, and will receive a $500 cash scholarship to the college of her choice.
She will also cut the first watermelon at the 26th Annual Watermelon Festival in August, while helping kick off the festival's events.
The winner will have an opportunity to compete in the state watermelon festival. In the past, two Franklin County residents have won the state competition and competed at the national level.
Ben Richey Photography will be making pictures at the event.
"Everyone will leave with something. No one will walk off of the stage empty-handed," said Stockton. "We want the girls and the community to participate and enjoy this event."