Edgeville Buzz

Miss Andersonville Pageant Is Resurrected! More Than The Typical Beauty Queen


Retro Miss Andersonville: Andersonville Chamber Facebook

Will it be a cheerleader? A burlesque performer? An actor? A visual manager? A non-profit employee? A stand-up comedian?

Only one person can become this year’s Miss Andersonville. But the beauty of this contest is that it’s not really a beauty contest at all. The winner of the Miss Andersonville pageant will be the person who has raised the most money for their selected local non-profit organization.

“Our goal for the current Miss Andersonville pageant was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Midsommarfest with a fun competition where local residents could raise money and awareness for local nonprofits,” said Jessica Hammer, director of marketing for the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce.

“As we were going through historic photos of Andersonville, we saw these awesome photos of past Miss Andersonvilles and we thought that resurrecting the pageant would be a fun and meaningful addition to this year’s celebration.”

Hammer said this is the first year the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce has resurrected the pageant, which started roughly around the time Andersonville was formally given its name 50 years ago. She said the Chamber has pictures of Miss Andersonville dating back to 1964 or 1965, and the last mention the Chamber found of the pageant was in the late 1980s.

This is the first year that, to the Chamber’s knowledge, the pageant has had this type of non-profit fundraising component.

“Based on the response so far, people have been excited about it,” Hammer said. “We are excited to partner with our finalists to help them raise money for their local charities. If the pageant this year is successful, we would definitely consider doing it again. However, we want to see how it goes before making any decisions about next year.”

The registration deadline for the Miss Andersonville pageant was May 19. While some of the non-profits are located in Andersonville, they don’t have to be. But Hammer said they are all based in Chicago and provide services that positively impact Andersonville.

You can meet the six contestants and support their causes this Saturday at the kickoff event at 3 p.m. at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. There is a $5 cover at the door and drink specials will be available. The deadline for the contestants to raise enough money to be named Miss Andersonville will be Sunday, June 14, at 6 p.m.

Here are the six contestants for the pageant:

– April Friedman-Hurvitz of Andersonville has been a member of the Chicago Spirit Brigade for two years and loves cheerleading. She is fundraising for Apna Ghar, an organization that supports both families and victims of domestic abuse. If she wins, April would use her tiara to help support local businesses and would love to help build a community garden.

– Boobs Radley is a native of Edgewater who spends a lot of time shopping in Andersonville. This Dirty Bird Burlesque performer is a cat lover; she’ll be fundraising for Tree House, a safe haven for abused and neglected cats where she frequently volunteers helping rehabilitate cats that have been rejected. If Boobs wins, she will advocate for pet adoption as well as raising awareness for the importance of spaying and neutering pets. She would announce her title as Miss Andersonville at her burlesque shows across the nation.

– Kevin Romero is a three-year Andersonville resident who works as a hospital manager by day and a stand-up comedian and improve player at the pH Comedy Theater by night. Kevin is fundraising for the pH Comedy Theatre, a non-profit theater. If he wins, he would like to use his tiara to put more smiles on people’s faces, to bring more comedy to Andersonville … and world peace.

– Bente Engelsoft has lived in Andersonville for four years and works as a comedian and actor. She is currently producing and performing a Chicago Tribune-acclaimed show entitled “ORAL: A Storytelling Hour” at The Annoyance Theater in Chicago. Bente will be fundraising for The Crib at The Night Ministry. The group supports teenagers and young adults struggling with poverty and homelessness. If crowned Miss Andersonville, she will campaign to “Keep Andersonville Beautiful” inside and out. She also things it’s about time the water tower goes back up.

– Mark King, AKA the Divine Ima-Beth Seller, has lived in Andersonville for 13 years. A visual manager, he travels the Midwest. Mark will be fundraising for Friends of Andersonville, an advocacy group that promotes literacy in all area schools through outreach. If Mark wins, the platform he would use (besides his shoes) would be to educate, inspire and entertain as well as to share the rich culture and true beauty of Andersonville.

– Swindian is her stage name, but her real name is Sangini. She became an Andersonville resident in 2003. She will be fundraising for the company she works for, Chicago Cares, an organization that connects volunteers to projects where people are most in need, including supporting seniors, the hungry, and education for the disenfranchised. If she wins, she will connect people to Andersonville, build relationships and become an ambassador for Andersonville from social media outlets as well as public outreach.

For more information, visit www.andersonville.org/missandersonville.

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