By Rob Cox Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — GREENSBURG – On Thursday morning, Peggy Brown, coordinator of Greensburg’s Little Mr. & Miss Tree City Pageant, visited local radio station WTRE to promote the upcoming formal kickoff of the 2013 pageant.
That kickoff, according to Brown, will be staged at 6 p.m., Aug. 6, at the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library. The Aug. 6 meeting will last about an hour and include an orientation for any Decatur County kids and their parents interested in competing in the 33rd annual edition of the pageant.
Formal registration, Brown added, will be held one week later, Aug. 13, again at 6 p.m., at the library.
Brown will nonetheless accept registrations beginning at the Aug. 6 kickoff, meaning registration will, in effect, run Aug. 6 to Aug. 13.
After Aug. 13, however, registration will be strictly cut off. “I’m very strict about registration cutoff,” Brown said. “It’s not fair to the other kids who come to all the meetings to let someone sign up late who hasn’t been attending.”
Following orientation and registration, meetings and practices for the Littles competition will run every Tuesday in August and September, at 6 p.m., at the Library, through Sept. 24. The lone exception will be Sept. 3, when practice will be cancelled in observance of Labor Day.
Reigning Little Mr. Tree City Caleb Greiwe sat in with Brown at Thursday’s WTRE interview, as did his mother T.J., herself a former Little Miss Tree City in 1985 (2012 Little Miss Tree City, Gwyneth Blair, was unable to attend).
When practices commence, Brown’s first order of business is teaching the kids to introduce themselves onstage. That may not sound like much, she said, but for kids in this age group, it can be a really big deal.
WTRE Host Kathy Verseman asked Greiwe to demonstrate his skill at introducing himself, and he did so, sounding as comfortable as he did on the Littles stage back in September.
His mother said she wanted Caleb to enter the pageant because of the confidence and poise the experience helps build in entrants.
She’s noted a definite difference in his confidence since entering, she said, becoming much less shy and much better at introducing himself to people, much more poised and confident. T.J. Greiwe also praised the contest for the more intangible lessons and values it instills.
Throughout the past 10 months of pageant-related public appearances Caleb has attended, T.J. Greiwe’s chief goal has been to help him understand that winning the contest isn’t just about parades and waving and throwing candy to the crowd.
Rather, T.J. Greiwe explained, for her, the Littles public appearances has provided a great opportunity to teach Caleb about being a good citizen and about being involved in the community. “I want him to understand that we are fortunate to live in a community like this one.”
Brown stressed that, regardless of who wins the Littles crowns, each of the contestants leaves “feeling like a winner.” Each contestant receives a trophy, a title, a sash and a parting gift from his or her sponsor.
Brown touted the fact that, in 2013, the contest would again be decided based on each contestant’s behavior. Until 2011, the pageant had been decided by which contestant raised the most money through the pageant’s accompanying donation drive. For Brown though, deciding the winner based on who raised the most money sent the wrong message. Thus, for the third year straight, the winners of the Little Mr. & Miss Tree City Pageant will be decided by vote.
Brown clarified that the canister donation drive will still be held, with kids decorating canisters and placing them at businesses around the city for public donation to help cover the contest’s $200 entry fee. Contestants can also solicit the fee from a local business, who agrees to serve as a sponsor; most contestants, in fact, cover the cost of entry through a sponsor.
Greensburg First Lady Sharon Herbert was also on hand Thursday morning, helping Brown spread the word about the 2013 Oldyweds Game.
2013 will mark the event’s third year at the Tree City Fall Festival. Brown also organizes and coordinates Oldyweds, which is structured after TV’s long-running “The Newlywed’s Game.” Brown’s twist on the format, however, is that participants in Oldyweds must have been married “a longtime.”
Herbert and her husband, Mayor Gary Herbert, have been married 44 years. Sharon Herbert formally announced Thursday morning that she and the mayor would again be participating in Oldyweds, marking their third straight year. The mayor, she said, wasn’t aware they’d be participating again, but likely would be after the WTRE interview.
Brown is currently soliciting entrants for the game, which will be held Friday night of the 2013 Tree City Fall Festival, Sept 27. She needs two more couples (the Little Mr. & Miss Tree City Pageant will be held Sept. 28).
There are no entry fees involved, she said, and no practices, as she wants everything to be as organic and spontaneous as possible.
Sharon Herbert characterized the event as “a lot of fun,” though at times unexpected and unpredictable. She invited married couples to sign up.
The age range for the Littles contest is between 4 and 7. Brown specified that contestants may enter provided they are at least 4 years old, but “not yet 8 by Jan. 1, 2014.”
For more information on the 2013 Little Mr. & Miss Tree City Contest or to enter the Oldywed Game or nominate someone, call Peggy Brown at 812-593-5583.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011