by MIKE CHAIKEN
The Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization has announced a new date for the annual competition. The date is now April 9-11.
The competition, which selects a Miss and an Outstanding Teen, usually is held in June. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postpone. It originally had been rescheduled for August. When it looked as if the pandemic would not subside by the new date, the pageant postponed again.
The women crowned in 2019, Miss Connecticut Jillian Duffy and Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Lindiana Frangu agreed earlier this year to serve as the title holders until their successors could be crowned at a rescheduled date.
The date for the national Miss America competition and Misss America’s Outstanding Teen also has been delayed.
Also, no venue has been selected for the next national competition, which was held last year at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.
The venue for the April dates for the state event has not yet been announced.
“We’re really excited to have a date set for the 2021 Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen competitions,” said Ashley McClain, vice president, recruiting and local business operations of the organization.
Before the COVID-19 shut down, only one local competition—Miss Greater Rockville—was held for what would have been the latest cycle of events leading up to the state pageant.
“I think it’s fair to say that a lot of candidates, volunteers and fans were disappointed when we aligned with the Miss America Organization to postpone,” said McClain. “However, safety is our top priority.”
“I can tell you that this competition will likely look a bit different from what we’re all used to. The realities of the pandemic have impacted how we can conduct a competition, and we will not do anything to risk anyone’s health or safety,” said McClain.
As the state organization prepares for a new date, McClain said, “We have regular calls with the Miss America Organization as they work through the logistics and challenges we are all facing today.”
That said, McClain added, “We don’t have definitive preparation guidance just yet, but we are staying in close contact and fully ready to hold a state competition come April. We’re also in close contact with other state organizations and continue to exchange ideas in support.”
In terms of planning, McClain noted that a lot change between now and April.
“While there is no guarantee that life will return to ‘normal’ by then, we are going to get creative as to how we can feasibly hold a competition that is safe for everyone involved – candidates, judges, volunteers and fans,” said McClain.
“This may mean that we have to conduct a competition entirely with no live audience, and a camera crew that allows us to stream to people’s TVs and devices. This may mean that we choreograph and set up absolutely every element of the competition to allow for six feet of social distance between individuals,” said McClain.
“We are going to use all of our resources to make this work,” said the Miss Connecticut executive.
Prior to the delays, there were several changes in the works at the state level to reflect the changes at the Miss America level. For instance, the national organization has put more focus on treating the competition like a job interview… setting aside traditional categories as swimwear and evening gowns. At the state level, there were also discussions of moving away from local titles and move directly to having candidates compete for the state title.
“We plan to host a state competition and provide opportunities to our candidates, no matter what that may look like,” said McClain when asked about the changes that have been discussed. “As a board, we are looking at this as an opportunity to grow and evolve.”
“We may not be having local competitions this year, but each titleholder will be holding a title and one that is close to their hearts,” said McClain. “In registering, candidates are able to select a title to represent. We are excited to highlight different areas of our state.”
Additionally, McClain said, “The Miss America Organization has been making adjustments to the competition that showcase and allow us to get to know the candidates. The format of the competition will look similar to the Miss America broadcast that occurred last year and if anything changes, we will be ready for that too.”
The delay in competition also meant some potential title holders might have aged out of the Miss and Teen titles.
McClain said Miss Connecticut organization has recognized this is a possibility.
“Any candidate who held a local title and was slated to compete in the June 2020 Miss Connecticut or Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen competitions is eligible to compete in April 2021,” said McClain.
“We are pulling out all the stops to reach candidates that are very familiar with the organization and competition, as well as those who have never competed,” said McClain. “Our aim is to provide scholarship dollars to young women, and we are working hard to expand our reach to have the largest possible impact across the state of Connecticut.”
“We are doubling down on our social media promotions, reaching out to dance schools and universities and tapping our vast network of volunteers and alumni to promote involvement,” said McClain. McClain said, “Any individual who has not yet signed up, but is interested and meets residency and age criteria should visit missct.org.”
Additional, potential candidates can contact McClain at email@example.com.
The deadline to sign up is Jan. 15, 2021.