Pageant road to Miss Destin a bit different in 2020

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log
The Destin Log

It hasn’t been the usual road to the crown, but nothing has this year with the COVID-19 looming overhead.

Nonetheless, there will be a crowning of a Miss Destin on July 10 at Shoreline Church in Destin with the pageant scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

The seven girls vying for the chance to wear the crown and sash of Miss Destin 2020 are Lauren Adams, Adriana Figueroa, Khloe Johnson-Silver, Anna Marie Knowles, Theresa LaNasse, Kaylie Sparks and Marlee Tobik.

Usually by now the contestants would have enjoyed a dolphin cruise, soda party, judges’ tea and a winner would have been crowned in early May.

"I hate that we didn’t get to have the usual,“ Helen Donaldson told the contestants at the soda party at the Destin History and Fishing Museum Tuesday afternoon.

Donaldson is the executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo and Miss Destin’s main function is to serve at the Rodeo in October as well as serve as an ambassador for Destin throughout the year.

“It’s going to be a short compressed thing ... but we’re going to have it and it’s going to be good,” Donaldson told the girls.

The contestants will gather for a judges’ tea on Sunday then go through dance rehearsals Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before a dress rehearsal on Thursday for the main event.

The pageant will still consists of a dance routine, fashion show as well as a mystery question for the girls to answer.

“This is not a pageant to see how you walk ... it’s about your heart and soul for the community,” said Heidi LoCicero, who works as a volunteer with the Rodeo and helps with the pageant, to the contestants on Tuesday, “We want you to have fun with it. But we want you to be very real.

“You are embarking on an important part of Destin history,” added LoCicero, whose daughter is a past Miss Destin.

The Rodeo will be celebrating it’s 72nd year this October, and almost as many Miss Destins have been crowned through the years.

Although it’s been a year of COVID-19 talk, the contestants are taking it in stride and enjoying the short-road to the pageant.

The Log asked the girls at the soda party what their thoughts of running for Miss Destin during this time of COVID-19 were.

Here’s what they had to say:

Lauren Adams — “It’s interesting. I’ve been doing it the past three years ... it’s been different from like past experiences, but I think we’ll get through it.”

Adriana Figueroa — "It’s been a roller coaster not knowing when everything is going to be, but it’s been exciting. I’ve been excited for a while.“

Khloe Johnson-Silver — “It’s been pretty interesting just with all the date changes and everything, but pretty non stressful ... relatively. I had to worry about my dress ... didn’t know whether to get it altered or not.”

Anna Marie Knowles — “It’s an awesome experience. Today is like the first day, but I’m really excited. They’ve been doing it like nothing else has really happened ... so it’s really cool.”

Theresa LaNasse — “It’s been challenging because everything is so up in the air, not only with Miss Destin but with school, work, church, everything. But these girls are so wonderful and everyone putting on this pageant. I’m just really excited and happy for this opportunity to participate.”

Kaylie Sparks — “It’s been really exciting but definitely different than I thought it would be. I’m excited that we are still doing it and it’s a pretty normal schedule as they planned it to be ... it’s condensed, but it’s OK. It’s been exciting.”

Marlee Tobik — “I did it last year, so I had the experience of that one, but this one is completely different. Everything I knew was kind of scrapped with this year. But we can roll with the punches, and we are going to make it as good as every year.”

Miss Destin 2019 Brooke O’Keefe — “Everything in the world is just so unpredictable right now and I hate it for the contestants but at the same time it such a great opportunity for the community to come together in different ways during this tough time.”

O’Keefe’s reign as Miss Destin would have ended in early May, but it got extended.

“I’m not complaining,” O’Keefe said. “On the bright side, I’ve been the longest reigning Destin. But it’s been so much fun and I’m honored to be Miss Destin for as long as I was. Kind of sad, but I’m moving on and it’s someone else’s turn.”

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