Miss Ulster County Pageant

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The Miss America Scholarship Program

The Miss America Scholarship Pageant was founded in 1921 and is the oldest, most respected pageant in the United States.  The Miss America Organization is the largest scholarship provider for women in the world -- making over $30 million available annually.

Ulster County

This chapter has been in existence since 1955.  Originally the Miss Saugerties Pageant, in 1967 it became the Miss Ulster County Scholarship Pageant, and was under the direction of Charles and Joan Beckwith between 1990 and 2004.  During 2004, previous Miss Ulster County winners Jennifer Emery Couse and Shannon Swart Helm became Directors, while Joan Beckwith remained as an advisor.  In 2005, it expanded to include both Ulster and Dutchess County and was renamed the Miss Apple Valley Scholarship Pageant.  This franchise has been awarded from the New York State Scholarship Program and sanctioned by the Miss America Program in Atlantic City as a bona fide local pageant. Each year, our pageant's winner is invited to compete in the Miss New York State Pageant, which has been held in Watertown, New York since 1980.

More recently, the Ulster County/Apple Valley Pageant has not been as active, but prospective contestants in the area are still welcomed to contact us as we may assist with placement in a more active New York State Pageant.

Photo from the pageant in August 2006
Miss Apple Valley 2007: Gina Vaccarino and the other 2007 contestants. Left to right:
Brandy Alexander, Julia Collier, Anna Sullivan, Gina, First Runner-Up: Gina Marinelli, Aubrey Flick, and Nicole Mayone. (At the crowning of Gina in August, 2006)

Contestants wearing Miss Apple Valley T-shirts donated by Hudson Valley Impressions
Contestants wearing Miss Apple Valley T-shirts donated by Hudson Valley Impressions.

If you would like to be a contestant, volunteer, or make a donation, please contact Jennifer Couse at (845) 339-8889 or Shannon Helm at (845) 334-8845, or submit an email.

More History of this Pageant
(reprinted from "Old Dutch Supplement", April 4, 1978)

"The pageant was first organized in the summer of 1955 by Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce as the Miss Saugerties Pageant, which was principally a beauty and personality pageant. In 1960 the Chamber of Commerce received its Miss America franchise and the reigning Miss Saugerties represented the township in the New York State Pageant held in Kingston that year.

In 1967 the Scholarship Pageant went County-wide and the name was changed to Miss Ulster County Scholarship Pageant. The winner each year was sent to the State Pageant held in Olean in July. The Pageant was sponsored by the Saugerties Jaycees up until 1974."

(Of course, there have been many changes since the 1978 article.)

The 2005 pageant was dedicated to Joan and Charles Beckwith.  Joan and Chuck became involved with the Miss America Organization in 1960, when one of Joan's students became Miss Vermont.  Joan and Chuck dedicated many unselfish hours and very much love to the program.  They were the definition of great Executive Directors.  During their 15 years as Executive Directors of the Miss Ulster County Scholarship Program, Joan and Chuck touched so very many lives and made many friends.  As the sun set on the Miss Ulster County Pageant, the legacy that Joan and Chuck left behind will live in the memories of all they have influenced.

As a new day arrives for the Miss Apple valley Scholarship Program, Jennifer Emery Couse (Miss U.C. 1997) and Shannon Swart Helm (Miss U.C. 1996) hope to follow in the grand footsteps that the Beckwiths have left behind.

All text, images, video, etc. at MissUlsterCounty.com are
Copyright 2000-2023 Miss Ulster County Scholarship Program
unless credit specifically stated otherwise.

You may contact the Directors with questions regarding the Miss Ulster County Pageant,
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Thanks to Erica Stopczynski for the original design.
Thanks to Stuart Williams (New York State Field Director) for most of the photographs.

This page last updated at 01:05:43 EDT on September 08, 2015.