Gail Crutchfield: Holiday of Hope Pageant delayed until January

Dec. 03, 2012 @ 03:28 PM

I hope many of you are aware of the Holiday of Hope pageant The Mountain Press Relay For Life team holds each year. This year will mark our fourth foray into holding the pageant to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Unfortunately, we have had to postpone the pageant from its Dec. 8 date to Jan. 26. We just didn’t have enough contestants to justify holding the pageant this weekend.

Our first two pageants in 2009 and 2010 were held the weekend before Thanksgiving. Our third was held in February 2012, and though we had a good turnout then, we wanted to go back to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday time-frame. Unfortunately, our venue didn’t have any open dates in November, thus the Dec. 8 date this year.

With Christmas just weeks away and budgets and thoughts going toward holiday commitments, it’s understandable that we didn’t have as many contestants sign up. We should have thought of that in our initial planning, but hindsight is 20/20.

As a fundraising pageant, our event isn’t one that leads to another pageant, and I wouldn’t think it would have much meaning to the girls and women who spend a lot of time and money on the pageant circuit. In fact, personally I would never want our pageant to turn into a “Honey Boo Boo” type event.

I would hate the idea of someone spending a lot of money for a new dress and shoes, unless they can use them again several times over. I would encourage participants to borrow or even rent dresses, buy secondhand or even wear the same one again.

We want our contestants to have fun when they participate in the pageant, to enjoy the short time they spend on stage.

It’s especially fun to watch the young ones and to see their family members try to tempt them into smiling. It’s even better to see those in our survivor category walk across the stage, enjoying their lives.

Our main goal is to raise money for a cause close to all of our us. We all have someone who has been affected by cancer and have lost loved ones to the disease.

Growing up in a farming family and spending many days picking cotton, my grandmother suffered from skin cancer. My mother and an aunt both survived breast cancer. An uncle passed away from colon cancer. Other family members have been diagnosed with cancers and fortunately have been treated and survived.

Having more survivors of the disease is one of the goals of the American Cancer Society, along with helping to fund research to find a cure and helping those who are in treatment.

The pageant is our way to help raise those funds, and we hope more of you will be able to participate on the new date of Jan. 26.

The  new entry deadline is Jan. 18, and the new Ambassador of Hope deadline is Jan. 11. The Ambassador of Hope event is a secondary fundraiser whereby contestants sell ads for the pageant program. The contestant earning the most money wins the title of Ambassador of Hope.

Feel free to call me at 428-0748, ext. 212, with any questions you may have or email me at You can also contact Tammy McGaha at ext. 262 or by email to

Forms will still be available at The Mountain Press office at 119 Riverbend Drive, at Hartstrings Children’s Apparel in Tanger Five Oaks, Sevier County branches of Tennessee State Bank or at Thomas Photography on Forks of the River.

A special thanks to all of our sponsors, which include Smoky Mountain Balloon Co.

— Gail Crutchfield is the community editor of The Mountain Press. Call 428-0748, ext. 212, or e-mail to