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Englund reflects on year as city's ambassador

Melodie Englund, 16, was crowned Miss Park Rapids Saturday night. More than 200 people attended the pageant. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Miss Park Rapids 2010, Melodee Englund, hopes the next girl who is crowned will have an experience similar to the year she had as the city's ambassador.

"It's been the most amazing experience of my life," she said. "I think it's really changed me as a person and how I look at the world."

The Miss Park Rapids Pageant is returning for a second year after a successful return last year.

The pageant, slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Park Rapids Area High School, includes four age categories. A reception will be held after the event.

Englund has been instrumental in helping with this year's pageant.

"I've been doing the choreography for the opening dance, choosing costumes," she said.

Also, Englund will crown the winners at this year's pageant.

Kristine Walsh, an organizer of the event, said this year's pageant will include many of the same elements as last year. A total of 32 girls are participating in this year's pageant, with two in the Miss Park Rapids division. This is an increase from last year's participants.

The divisions include:

n Miss Park Rapids for grades 10, 11 and 12.

n Miss Teen Park Rapids for grades 7, 8 and 9.

n Little Miss Park Rapids, for grades 4, 5 and 6.

n Little Miss Park Rapids for kindergarten through grade 3.

Englund has been active throughout the year volunteering at community events.

"I've been forced to develop my people skills and have become more confident," she said.

Englund will pass along her advice to this year's pageant participants and said she will continue to be an active member of the community.

"I used to care more about what other people thought of me but I have higher standards for myself now and I respect my family more," Englund said. "My mom is my best friend. It's priceless."

Many of last year's volunteers have stepped up to help. Joel Maxwell will do photo shoots for the girls and Savannah Snyder, former Miss Moorhead, is offering her experience from that pageant. Sue Tomte will emcee the event.

Englund said Maxwell has been great to work with and talk to.

Walsh, who owns Park Avenue School of Cosmetology, said her students will participate in the pageant by doing makeovers for the participants.

The pageant itself is not a beauty contest but about building confidence and learning about public speaking. A scholarship is available for the winner of the pageant in the Miss Park Rapids category.

Competitors will participate in the photo shoot, judges' interview, evening gown, active wear and give a two minute talk about something in the community they are passionate about. They will also participate in the opening number.

The winner will receive a crown, sash and flowers. The second and third runners up will receive jewelry and flowers. They will have the opportunity to participate in community events representing Park Rapids.

The younger divisions will be focused more on participation than competition and everyone will receive a gift. The girls will participate in the party dress and athletic wear categories and will perform in the opening number, and photo shoot. They will introduce themselves and their sponsor. The winner will receive a tiara, sash and flowers.

Englund stressed that being Miss Park Rapids takes responsibility.

"I've been an ambassador for the community, it's a huge responsibility," she said.

For more information, go to the Facebook page "Miss Park Rapids Pageant" or visit www.parkavenuecosme parkrapids.htm.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561