Miss Destin contestants sail smoothly through events; pageant set for Saturday at Shoreline

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

It was literally smooth sailing for the latest event leading up to the Miss Destin Pageant set to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 8, at Shoreline Church in Destin. 

“This is the first time in about five years that the wind hasn’t been blowing for the cruise,” said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo.  

The contestants vying to be Miss Destin 2021 recently went on a harbor cruise aboard the Southern Star. Contestants  standing from left to right  are Kaylie Sparks, Whitney O'Keefe, Kasidy Braden, Savannah Pitchlynn, Miss Destin 2020 Lauren Adams, Bella Wasson, Molly Bettinger, Ella Kathryn Campbell and  Kathryn Ballard.

On Thursday, the eight contestants vying for the title of Miss Destin 2021, along with a few family members, boarded the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise boat for an hour cruise around Destin harbor.

The lucky girl to be crowned Miss Destin 2021 will serve at the month-long fishing rodeo in October as well as an ambassador around town throughout the year. She also will be the recipient of at least a $2,000 scholarship. 

Miss Destin contestants have a little fun taking a group "selfie" on the harbor cruise.

The eight vying to wear the crown are Kathryn Ballard, Molly Bettinger, Kasidy Braden, Ella Kathryn Campbell, Whitney O’Keefe, Savannah Pitchlynn, Kaylie Sparks and Bella Wasson. 

More Miss Destin news:Farewell to Miss Destin Lauren Adams: A fish fileting, roll with the punches, unflappable girl

More:Eight girls to vie for Miss Destin 2021; to reign over the 73rd Destin Fishing Rodeo

Before boarding the boat, the girls each brought along an individual “poster collage,” which was covered. The contestants were to convey as much about themselves on the posters without using their name or photos of themselves. 

When it was all said and done, Kaylie Sparks won the poster contest. 

The contestants for Miss Destin 2021 took a harbor cruise aboard the Southern Star on Thursday in Destin. While on the boat they were given a list of events and practices for the upcoming pageant week. The pageant is Saturday, May 8, at Shoreline Church

On the cruise, each of the girls was given a beach bag loaded with swag — T-shirts, another bag, insulated cups, free passes and more. 

On Sunday, the girls attended a judge's tea at the home of Jane and Bob Carron in Kelly Plantation. 

“Each girl was interviewed by the panel of judges to give the judges their first opportunity to begin choosing one of the amazing candidates to be our Miss Destin 2021,” Donaldson said. 

Kaylie Sparks, one of the contestants for Miss Destin 2021, won the poster collage contest during the cruise around the harbor.

“It’s a big job and I’m very glad we have a very qualified panel to make such a big decision,” she said. 

During this week the girls will be going through dress rehearsals, learning dance routines and more in preparation for Saturday evening’s pageant. 

More Miss Destin fun:Miss Destin Lauren Adams tries her hand at hoisting up a shark on the scales at the Rodeo

Rodeo news:Destin Fishing Rodeo doesn’t just happen by itself in October

“This is such an amazing group of girls that it is going to be a difficult choice for the judges,” said Miss Destin 2020 Lauren Adams. “All the girls have their own story and their own background but all have this beautiful home of Destin, Florida, in common.

Miss Destin 2020 Lauren Adams enjoys the cruise aboard the Southern Star. The contestants last year didn't get to do the cruise because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is going to be an amazing experience for even the girls that don’t win, they all have such bright futures ahead of them that this is just another stepping stone to who they will become,” she said. 

The public is invited to attend Saturday's pageant.