The city of Hoopeston's longtime tradition of hosting the National Sweetheart Pageant is the focus of a meeting this (Wednesday) evening. The Hoopeston Jaycees, who actually own/operate the Labor Day weekend event, are gathering to discuss options as to how the pageant may be able to adjust to keep the tradition alive.
Hoopeston officials with the National Sweetheart Pageant have been notified contestants and judges involved in the Miss America Pageant are now prohibited from participating in the Hoopeston or similar events.
Cliff Crabtree, and his wife Michelle, have served as the local pageant's executive directors for the last 10 years. They're frustrated with the sudden-change in direction they've been tossed into.
Cliff Crabtree said the local committee has received what he called a generic response from the Miss America people, after the Hoopeston connection inquired about the rules notice.
Questions include'how does the Miss America organization control girls' involvement in Hoopeston's event, when most of the contestants have already competed and were runners-up in their own state pageant' ?
Crabtree said apparently the signed contract girls must agree to, states Miss America rules, any connection to Miss America prohibits involvement in other national competition.
Crabtree said plans were underway for the 2016 Hoopeston National Sweet Corn Festival and the Miss National Sweetheart Pageant. Over the 70-plus years, several of the Hoopeston pageant women crowned Miss National Sweetheart have gone on to win the Miss America title.
The Hoopeston Jaycees are meeting to see what options can be pursued.