Mt. Pleasant Glass and Ethnic Festival: Princess, queen contests draw hundreds
MOUNT PLEASANT — The Mount Pleasant Glass and Ethnic Festival’s 17th annual Young Miss Princess and Queen contest drew hundreds of spectators Saturday, braving wind and occasional rain.
Nine girls competed for queen and six for princess.
Both winners were extra special. They had entered several times before.
2003 Glass and Ethnic Festival Queen Katie Bittel, 17, of Acme, had entered the contest twice in the past. “I feel wonderful,” she said.
Her mother, Kathleen Bittel, said, “I’m just so happy for her. Katie is a very sweet girl.” Her father, Mark Bittel, is deceased. He was very active in Mount Pleasant soccer, and a soccer field has been named after him.
Katie wore a white sleeveless gown for the formal wear competition.
Each contestant had to choose three words to describe herself. Katie chose “unique, creative and amiable.” She talked about her favorite sport — soccer — which she has played since she was very young. “It was a close family experience,” she said.
Katie, a senior at Mount Pleasant Area High School, has no immediate plans following graduation.
Young Miss Princess Kaylie Springer, 11, of Norvelt, had competed three times.
“I feel so overexcited,” she said.
“Honey, I’m so proud of you,” said her mother, Lynn Springer. Her father is Charlie Springer.
Kaylie attends Norvelt Elementary school. She wore a maroon sleeveless gown for the formal wear competition.
Kaylie chose “athletic, creative and self-confident” to describe herself. When asked her favorite sport, she responded, “I like swimming. It’s fun being with my friends and I like competing.” Swimming will serve her well in her chosen career — marine biology.
Other winners in the queen contest were: Lisa Gorecki, first runner-up; Molly Pawlikoski, second runner-up; Elizabeth Brady, Miss Congeniality; and Katie Eicher, Miss Photogenic.
Other winners in the Young Miss Princess Contest were: Dawn Mondock, first runner-up and Miss Photogenic; Chelsie Rimel, second runner-up; and Erika Falbo, Miss Congeniality.
Rounding out the contestants for Queen were: Samantha Chronowski, Jessica Potocki, Mariesa Coughanour and Courtney Horwat; for Princess, Heather Godzin.
In addition to contests and entertainment, this year’s festival featured the rescue capsule from the Quecreek Mine.
The 22-inch wide yellow capsule stands about 10 feet high. Mine Safety and Health Administration employee Ed Chuhta explained its use.
“This is our capsule, the one that brought up all nine miners July 27, 2002. Seventy-seven hours after the mine flooded. I was there 99 percent of the time. When Quecreek first happened, we knew they were alive on Thursday. But until Saturday night, when they started hitting on the drill steel, we didn’t know.”
Chuhta said that the capsule is still the only one in the country and, while it tours festivals and other events, it will be taken to any future disaster immediately.
Festival visitors enjoyed their glimpse of history. “They like it a lot,” said Chuhta. “They think it shows the hope we all had that those guys would get out alive. And they did.”
This year’s Glass and Ethnic Festival went very well. Despite times of bad weather, thousands attended, especially when the Povertyneck Hillbillies played. Their two concerts, Friday and Sunday, were a festival first.
“We wanted them twice because they were so popular last year,” said festival committee member Mary Lou Loop. “They put on a great show. We had a Wild World of Animals show Friday night. The kids really liked that.”
Festival organizers added a parade of lights Friday night, the festival’s only disappointment. Said Loop, “There was not a lot of participation in the parade, but the streets were full. Hopefully, next year more people will participate. People liked what they saw.”