By Aubry Bracco, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, August 3, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
HAMPTON BEACH -- The hometown girl snagged the crown on Sunday, July 29 at the 61st Miss Hampton Beach Pageant.
Beating out 19 other contenders, 17-year-old Leah Grondin of Hampton became queen of the beach after a series interviews, an evening gown showcase and swimsuit competition.
Beach-goers gathered at the Seashell Stage for the pageant, which also featured performances by Dance Vision Network, a vocal performance by Victoria Whalen and an appearance by Miss Hampton Beach 2006, Allison Blais.
When she won last year, Blais said the pageant’s director, Stephanie Lussier, had told her she would be treated like Miss America by "everyone at Hampton Beach."
"I never believed her," Blais said.
But Lussier was right. Beach-goers were supportive of Miss Hampton Beach’s every move.
Though Blais was only required to attend a select number of required events during her reign, she also took the time to get involved in the community on her own. Blais said she read "The Rainbow Fish" to a daycare and participated in the Penguin Plunge, to benefit the Special Olympics. At the plunge, Blais said she told beach-goers she would jump in if she raised enough money. Ten minutes (and $1500 later) Blais found herself in the freezing February water.
"I was still getting money after I jumped in," she recalled.
During her parting thoughts, Blais told the audience at the Seashell she was shocked and touched by her win in 2006.
"Never once in my life have I made such an impact on a town or on myself," she said.
Prior to giving up her crown, Blais urged the winner to attend as many beach events as possible.
"This is such and amazing opportunity," she said.
Before Grondin was crowned Miss Hampton Beach 2007, the top five contestants — Grondin, Brittany Dube, Micaela Flynn, Katie Owens and Cyndal Todd — were required to answer interview question in front of the crowd.
When asked what would entice men into entering a "Mr. Hampton Beach" contest, Grondin said they should be offered a prize.
"And if they could do it with us," she said "they’d do it."
When winners were finally announced, Katie Owens was winner of the swimsuit competition and the Miss Congeniality award, along with Allison Lacroix.
Todd ranked as fourth runner up, Owens as third, Flynn as second and Dube as first runner up.
Grondin’s family was ecstatic about the results of the competition.
"The hometown girl won," Grondin’s father, Kevin Grondin, said. "She is a nice kid. She works hard."
Leah, who works at Cinnamon Rainbows, is an avid surfer, figure skater, lacrosse player, knitter and fisher, said she was thrilled to be a part of the annual competition, which she has watched since childhood.
"I’ve watched it [the pageant] since I was a little girl and always admired the winners," Grondin said.
"Either one of us could have won," Grondin said of herself and first runner up, Brittany Dube. "I haven’t really gotten hold of it [the win] yet."
If you are already thinking ahead about your own beauty queen dreams, it isn’t too early to start thinking about next year’s Miss Hampton Beach Pageant. For more information, contact Stephanie Lussier at princess50 @yahoo.com.