Miss Ocean City 2014 was crowned at the Music Pier before a large crowd of family and friends. The Ocean City Exchange Club sponsored the pageant again this year.
The week preceding the pageant was a busy one for the 16 contestants starting Monday night when they performed their talent while Andrea Paul and Linda Gronert made sure each was under two minutes.
Choreographer Kaitlyn Schoeffel rehearsed the opening and closing numbers with contestants who proved to be quick studies. Mary Ann Jones showed up with the Miss Ocean City blue and gold sash, so she wouldn’t forget it Saturday. Anita Culp provided tickets to the contestants for family and friends. Jane Lugo made sure everyone was well fed as she solicited a smorgasbord of goodies from local eateries. Chaperones got up close and personal with mock interviews to prepare contestants for the judges interviews. We learned Jordan Zboray almost made it to the Hollywood round on “American Idol”; Kyle Lefkowitz is a quadruplet and cousin of Miss Ocean City Devon Vanderslice; Samantha Dowling’s sister, Katie Hope, is a former Miss Ocean City; Elizabeth Tully’s mom, Robin Scott, was Miss Ocean City and Robin has a twin brother. Avonlea Cannizaro’s mom, Lizbeth Johnson Canizzaro, ran for Miss Ocean City in the early 1990s and always placed collecting scholarship money for college; and Whitney Hanna is proficient in sign language.
Wednesday night was time for fun as contestants arrived in their Rock ‘N’ Roll-themed outfits for the Miss Ocean City parade. The rain stopped and the skies cleared with bright sunshine an hour before the parade. Liz Tully was Rosie the Riveter for “Made in America” while Phoebe Schumacher sported prison stripes for “Jail House Rock.” Whitney Hanna was patriotic in red, white and blue and lots of flags for “Born in the USA” and Carley Del Sordo wore her bathrobe, shower cap and carried her yellow rubber duckie and scrub brush depicting “Splish Splash.” Dressed as Sandy from “Grease” were Maddie Brady and Savanna Kennelly for “You’re The One That I Want” and “Grease Lightning.” When Stu Sirott lined up convertibles, I helped Amanda Leonetti into Roy Gillian’s Jaguar then sat in the passenger seat as we headed down Asbury Avenue, then up to the boardwalk as contestants waved to fans along the way. Then it was back to the high school for rehearsals.
Friday night the excitement mounted as contestants arrived at the Music Pier toting gowns, talent outfits, swimsuits and shoes for dress rehearsal. While Stu Sirott, Mike Bloom, Don Paul, David Powell and Curt Gronert were put finishing touches on the stage backdrop and runway lights, contestants and chaperones enjoyed Primo Pizza in the upstairs lounge before hitting the stage for rehearsal that lasted for hours.
Saturday morning contestants were back at the Music Pier to rehearse before getting dressed for their interviews with the judges at the high school. Ralph Bingham chauffeured contestants and judges throughout the day’s events in a new van from Perry Egan. Curt Gronert was at the ticket gate when Jim and I arrived Saturday night while Joe Libby and George Reeves were set to sell programs and ad books on the loggia. Jim joined John LaRosa and fellow ushers Warren Iredell, Ed Price, Ozzie Jordan, John McGuigan, Sam Capizzi, David Powell and Keith Symonds, to show folks to their seats. The Rock ‘N’ Rock set created by Mark Crego featuring large piano keyboards, 45 records and pictures of Elvis and others was in place and ready for the show. Steve Trauger was set up to record the show and made sure the closed-circuit TV upstairs in the dressing rooms was ready for viewing.
A half hour before show time it was controlled chaos in the dressing rooms with Sally Onesty, Dorian Elberson and Lauren Moran of A Bella Salon assisting contestants with their hair and makeup. As soon as judge’s chairperson Beverly McCall had the five judges in place, it was show time. Sporting black tights and silettos and red sequin tops, contestants presented their opening number and walked the runway amid cheers and applause. Bill Culp, in his new black tux made by Raffaele, was master of ceremonies. With quick changes for talent, swimsuit and evening gown competitions there were a few moments of anxiety like when Maddie Brady’s strap on her bathing suit broke. This columnist quickly thread a needle then Suzan LaRosa sewed the strap and Maddie was on stage in time. It took Andrea Paul, Brigitte Walls and this columnist to get the hook on Phoebe Schumacher’s gown fastened, but not before I ruined my manicure. Before relinquishing her crown, Miss Ocean City 2013 Devon Vanderslice walked the runway with her mom, Dawn, who was Miss Ocean City 33 years before. Before crowning her successor, Devon thanked everyone for making a year as Miss Ocean City special and reported it was the best year of her life, followed by a slide presentation highlighting her year with most pictures being taken by her grandfather, Nick Impagliazzio.
Pageant chairman Frank McCall, sporting his black tux accented with red plaid bowtie and cummerbund, thanked everyone involved in making the pageant the success it was and presented Devon with a bouquet of flowers before she took her final walk on the runway.
After all the awards were presented and runners-up announced, the Music Pier rocked when Bill Culp announced Carley Del Sordo was chosen Miss Ocean City 2014. Not believing her name had been called and with tears running down her face, Devon placed the crown on Carley’s head and Miss Ocean City sash over her shoulder and with a big bouquet of flowers she walked the runway stooping to receive congratulations from family and friends.
After the pageant, the committee and judges got together at The Riverboat Club for a celebration. Jim and I along with Joanne Budnick and Rose Haas enjoyed chatting with one of the judges, TV40 weatherman Dan Skeldon, along with his girlfriend, Amanda Major. Dan told us many of the young children he visits at schools think that he and Michelle Dawn Mooney are married, however it won’t be long before Dan and Amanda announce their wedding plans.
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