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BRITT | A big smile spread across Ava Horstman’s face as she was crowned the 2018 Little Miss Britt in front of more than 50 family, friends and community members Thursday evening at City Park.

Horstman was one of 10 girls between 6 and 8 years old who participated in the annual pageant, sponsored by Gifts Sew Sweet Print Shop.

“I’ve never been so happy in my life,” she said in the midst of her family after being crowned.

The pageant took place before the official start of the National Hobo Convention, a five-day event that coincides with the annual Hobo Days festivities, Thursday. The convention began at 7 p.m. with a fire-lighting and four winds ceremony at Hobo Jungle.

Judging for the pageant began at 4 p.m. at the Britt Public Library, where the girls played princess-themed games, completed activities and enjoyed cookies, crackers and juice pouches.

At 5:30 p.m., the girls walked from the library to the gazebo in a single-file line with 2017 Little Miss Britt Izzy Aitchison leading them to their chairs.

Val Quayle, the pageant’s emcee, started the night by welcoming the audience.

Then, each of the girls were called upon to answer a few questions about their hobbies, pets and what they enjoy about living in Britt as cicadas buzzed in the background. Most of the contestants said going to the pool.

Before returning to their seats, the girls were asked to show the audience their "best Little Miss Britt wave.”

After the introductions, Aitchison was called upon to answer some questions while the pageant’s judges determined this year’s royalty.

The pageant judges were Lindsey Kurtzleben, Rachel Johnson and Katie Grimm. They were asked to evaluate each of the girls in the areas of conversation, friendliness, how well they get along with others, stage presence and appearance.

This year’s contestants were Horstman, 7; Braelyn Abele, 8; Emma Anderson, 8; Cadence Cruise, 7; Ella Francis, 6; Kyrsten Gayken, 8; Millie Gretillat, 7; Avery Hinders, 6; Haven Merriam, 7; and Taylor Redig, 8.

After the break, Hinders, the daughter of Ann and Wade Hinders, was crowned 2018 Miss Congeniality, while Francis, daughter of Rae and Josh Francis, was named first runner-up; and Horstman, daughter of Nedra and Mike Horstman, was crowned Little Miss Britt.

“I’m going to keep it,” Horstman said when asked what she was going to do with her crown, adding she’d likely wear it on special occasions.

Quayle said the pageant had “a really good turnout,” and Gifts Sew Sweet Print Shop plans on continuing it as long as it can.

“The girls all had a lot of fun, and we had a great group of girls,” she said.

The pageant’s winners were scheduled to appear in the Hobo Days Parade Saturday morning.

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.



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