Eight Jackson County high school seniors will compete for Pear Blossom queen during the 18th annual Senior Royalty Scholarship Pageant, set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the North Medford High School auditorium.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students, with children under 6 admitted free.
Contestants are Simona Mieger of Ashland, Ayni-Marie Hailicka of Butte Falls, Megan Beard of Cascade Christian, Olivia Clark of Crater, Sarah Louie of North Medford, Miriam Hawk of Phoenix, Tayler Harrington of South Medford and Amanda Vargas of Eagle Point.
The seniors will be judged on school leadership skills, academic achievement, community involvement, an interview with the judges, writing and presentation of an essay, and answering impromptu questions on stage.
Each year, school activities directors hand out applications to interested senior girls at Rogue Valley high schools. The contestants must have a grade-point average of 3.5 or better to enter. The Senior Royalty Committee chooses the top five from each school, and each school then selects its princess. More than 50 applications are received each year.
Each princess automatically earns a $500 college scholarship. The winner becomes queen, reigns over the Pear Blossom Parade on April 12, and receives a $2,000 college scholarship. The queen's scholarship is sponsored by Kogap Enterprises, Inc.
In the past 17 years, the Pear Blossom Festival Association has given more than $95,000 in scholarships to more than 150 high school girls in the community.
Pear Blossom Board member Brian O'Connor of Radio Medford will be the master of ceremonies. Judges include Jeff Heaton, KOBI-TV weatherman; Bill Eckart, executive director of the Fruit Growers League; Leslie Haze, from Radio Medford; and Mona Cato, director of security for Harry and David. KDRV anchors Andrea Pettes and Janet Kim will ask impromptu questions on stage.
Entertainment includes the Dance Arts Center and the second annual ballroom dance competition, during which five young couples from Kranenburg's Dance Steps Studio will compete for $1,000 cash prizes.