Eighty years of Dowagiac pageantry will be celebrated Jan. 12 as this year’s 11 contestants take the stage at Dowagiac Middle School.
Pageant director Tracy Urbanski, office manager for Dowagiac’s Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center, invites the public to join this year’s contestants as they step back in time to the roaring 1930s, when ballroom dances were the rage, and motion pictures depicted a time of elegance & sophistication.
In Dowagiac, on April 9, 1930, before what was reported as a “breathless audience of 1,000 people,” this community’s first Miss Dowagiac was crowed at the Century Theatre on Front Street. The pageant of nine women, between the ages of 18 and 25, took place between the first and second shows. With the exception of World War II, the Dowagiac pageant has been held annually since 1930.
Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, 14 corporate advertisers and more than 70 contributing gift and scholarship donors, have underwritten the 80th annual event, as well as The Business Center of Southwestern Michigan, which provides in-kind float storage.
As a long-standing tradition, today’s pageant awards college scholarships to members of the Court of Honor and also affords Miss Dowagiac the opportunity to enter preliminary pageants for state and national competitions. In 2000, the Pageant Executive Committee was pleased to take the program to new heights, as scholarships were awarded for the first time. Since then, $77,250 in educational scholarships have been presented to young women within our community.