A family-friendly night of variety, singing, and lip-syncing competition will happen on Sept. 13 at Arcadia Academy/Thee Abbey Kitchen as Iron County People First will present the “Man, I Feel Like a Woman-Less Beauty Pageant." The event's doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and tickets can be purchased at the door.
Iron County People First is an organization that promotes self-advocacy, increases the quality of life and protects equal rights for people with developmental disabilities in Iron County.
Pageant contestants and performers will include group members, local business owners, high school students and professional entertainers who are coming together to help fund the organization’s field trips, social activities and holiday parties for its developmentally-disabled members and volunteers.
Slots for pageant contestants are still open and applications are available on the group's Facebook page, “People First of Iron County.” Applications can also be obtained by calling 573-327-0358.
Dress rehearsal for the pageant will be held Thursday, the night before the event, giving contestants a chance to practice their performance and get advice from professional performers.
Judged will take place in five categories: general appearance, presentation, quality/value, choreography and interview questions.
Volunteers explained via speakerphone that, with so many great causes, it is becoming more difficult to raise needed funds.
Iron County People First is run solely by volunteers with no outside funding. It is a local chapter of Missouri People First, a statewide organization in many counties including Washington and Madison.
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“What’s really unique about our organization is that our members, who are developmentally-disabled, are actually our president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer,” said group volunteer Cody Kitchen. “They call monthly meetings, they set new and old business, and they set our agenda for the year.”
Kitchen explained that the group’s 12-member volunteer team works alongside their 28 members to put together fundraisers for other community organizations and participate in community-based activities like local food drives.
The group and others have had to get creative for fundraising ideas. The group’s fundraising team got the idea for the woman-less pageant from a local high school that hosted a similar pageant to raise money for Project Graduation.
The fundraising team said a woman-less pageant held by a local high school was entertaining, had community and parent support, and helped with post-graduation festivities so the team decided to give it a try.
Iron County People First members said they understand this event may not be for everyone, but they hope the event will be a whimsical evening of awareness to help those with developmental disabilities in our community.
The group also explained one of their main goals is to raise awareness about what they do and to encourage local residents with developmental disabilities to participate.
Anyone is welcome to attend the pageant. For additional information, the group can be contacted by Facebook message through their Facebook page or by calling 573-327-0358.