A pageant where everyone gets a tiara

Candidates collect more than 1,200 pajamas


Number 11 - Sierra Dawson, 9 of Kennewick was named the Shining Star Queen in the 9-11 ages group, during Saturday’s Washington Shining Star Pageant. Also pictured, left to right: Avelynn Antram, 9, Sunnyside and Morgan Edwards, 9, Yakima.


Janae O’Neal, 13, of Prosser was named Juniors Shining Star at the Saturday pageant.

— Pajamas, trophies, tiaras and sashes were over shadowed by the shiny faces of the more than 40 candidates who took part in the fourth annual Washington Shining Star Pageant held Saturday at Bethel Church.

The unique pageant for differently-abled girls of all ages, was emceed by Kimberly Starr of Prosser, who seemed to enjoy the candidates as much as the audience of friends and families who shouted out encouragement to their favorite ‘star’

The super hero candidates spoke of their own favorite powers during the formal wear portion of the pageant.

“Being able to save the day” was the favorite power of Elementary Division Queen Sierra Dawson, 9, of Kennewick.

For Ava Juarez, 10, of Zillah, it was the ability to bounce, which she demonstrated for the audience of families and friends.

Also named Shining Star royalty in the younger divisions were RaeDawn Larson, 7, of Union Gap in the Early Elementary Division for girls ages 5-8.

Janae O’Neal, 13, of Prosser was the top shining Star in the Juniors division for girls 12-14.

In the Senior category for girls ages 15-19 was Angelina Thomas Larson, 15 of Union Gap and sister to RaeDawn. Resa Stanton, 28, of Grandview claimed the Women’s Division (ages 20 and older) crown.

Ava Juarez claimed top honors in the elementary division community service project. She collected 33 pairs of pajamas for the pageant’s annual charity.

However, it was 8-year-old Pricilla Campos of Yakima who collected the most “PJs” during the morning pageant. She received her community service medal for having collected 106 sets of pajamas.

Also awarded a community service medal was Lucia Ayala, 27, of Grandview for an undisclosed collection of night wear.

The total number of ‘jammies’ collected at the pageant was 1,203 sets, Director Rene Martinez said.

The garments will be donated to area children’s hospitals and other children-related agencies, such as Ronald McDonald House, the Yakima YWCA and the state foster care programs.

“We are already planning next year’s pageant,” Martinez said, adding that this year’s event had the most candidates so far.

“We had 44 participants this year,” she said.

The pageant was the concept of her daughter Sofia, who wanted to see a pageant for girls of different abilities.

“This is her dream and it’s turned out to be amazing adventure,” Martinez said.

“We started in 2015 with just 16 girls,” she said. “I’m so happy with the results.”

This past year, the state’s only such pageant gained state non-profit organization and some major support.

“We also received $1,000 from the Prosser UGN, which will helped us give girls scholarships to be in the pageant.

“We’ll also have extra money for girls to attend special summer camps,” Martinez said.


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