GENEVA – Registration is officially open for the Geneva Miss Grapette Pageant, and pageant director Chrissy Jeppe is ready for the fun, glitz and glamor.
The pageant will be 2 p.m. Sept. 19 at Geneva High School for the youngest girls and 5:30 p.m. for teenagers. Applications are due by Sept. 9 and can be downloaded from www.grapejamboree.com or picked up from the Geneva Public Library, Studio J Lea's (formerly R. Rose & Co. Salon), Michelle's Hot Mess, Say Yes to Her Dress in Mentor, Ashtabula Sports N Sports and all local junior and senior high school offices.
Girls in kindergarten through second grade will vie for the Little Miss Grapette title. Girls in grades three through five will compete for the Young Miss Grapette title. Junior Miss Grapette is for girls in sixth through eighth grade, and the Miss Grapette title is for students grades nine through 12. Sponsor fees are $50 per contestant and include a T-shirt. Girls will need to wear khaki pants and black or brown shoes and a formal dress.
Jeppe said out-of-town judges will score the pageant to be sure everything is done fairly.
“We are always so happy to see the auditorium full of people there to see our girls take the stage,” Jeppe said. “The audience loves the show. The little kids are so cute and everyone loves the Miss Grapette pageant.”
Jeppe said Grapette queens and members of the court are dedicated to their festival and their community.
“Being a Grapette is not a one day event,” she said. “This is a one-year commitment where you will spend time traveling to festivals, organizing many community service projects — you are representing Grape Jamboree and Geneva.”
Reigning Miss Grapette Paige Mottley said her time leading the court has taught her life lessons she will carry with her forever.
“The Miss Grapette program teaches not only confidence, but integrity and determination as well,” she said. “It's a bond that not only did I get to share with my court, but I was lucky enough to have with my sisters. This year has brought us closer than ever before and I'm very proud to call them my sisters. The Grapettes become a part of your life like no other program does.”
Jeppe said the 2015 Grapettes kept their efforts close to home.
“These Grapettes are special because they have 50 years of royalty before them that has made Grape Jamboree one of the top five festivals in Ohio,” she said. “Each year our court is different. This year we may not have traveled as much as usual or as far, the girls stayed close to home and really impacted those in our community.”
The court had a Thanksgiving food drive and donated 1,688 pounds to the food pantry, participated in Shop-with-a-Cop, hosted a rigatoni fundraiser to purchase a new freezer for the Geneva Food Pantry, hosted an Easter egg hunt for children at the Beatitude House in Ashtabula, gave every resident at a local nursing home a brand new blanket and participated in a prom for developmentally disabled people in the area. They will end their year with a trip to Atlantic City to watch the Miss America Pageant.
Mottley said she is committed to the festival, the Geneva community and her legacy as a Grapette.
“My love for it all has grown so strong that this year I decided to join the Grape Jamboree Committee in hopes of one day taking over the program. If it wasn't for my director, Chrissy Jeppe, I don't think that I would ever have grown into the woman I am today if it wasn't for her. Her passion for the Grapettes is absolutely inspiring, and someday I can reach the bar she has set for this program,” Mottley said.