Plans are under way for special-needs pageantMiss Hudson Princess Shelby Lokken believes she has hit on an idea whose time has come in Hudson.
Miss Hudson Princess Shelby Lokken believes she has hit on an idea whose time has come in Hudson.
Lokken, with assistance from her mother, Kym, and more than half a dozen other people, are planning “Crowning Achievement: A Special Needs Community Pageant.” The event is set for October and is open to young women with special needs age 16 and up.
The idea began at a parade in the Twin Cities attended by the Hudson royalty. Lokken was approached by a young woman with special needs who had also ridden in the parade.
“She told us she was a princess too but she didn’t have a crown. I thought about it, and that’s not fair. It started me thinking,” said Shelby.
The Hudson High School student has had experience working with students with special needs. Her mother is an educational assistant at HHS and Shelby worked with her mother’s students. She has also volunteered with Bridge for Youth with Disabilities in Hudson.
“I’ve gotten to know so many of the kids at Bridge and at school, and a lot of them are fans (of Hudson royalty). I just thought it would be great for them to have some of the same experience I’m having.”
Lokken sums up the mission of the pageant this way. “We want people with special needs to have the same opportunities and availability of experiences as those of us who represent the Hudson royalty. We want to help boost their confidence and, most of all, have fun. Our other goal is to increase awareness and the involvement of the community with people who have special needs.”
Both mother and daughter stressed that the pageant is not based on physical beauty or performance, and every young woman who participates “will win a crown.” Participants will also be awarded princess sashes for individual achievements or characteristics.
Kym Lokken said they have already had an enthusiastic response from several businesses and community groups to the pageant idea and hope to have a large and diverse group of sponsors by the time of the event.
There will be no requirements or costs for candidates as long as they meet the age guideline. Committee members are working on number of pre-pageant events and will be helping to find dresses and appropriate outfits for every candidate.
Kym Lokken said that if a candidate didn’t want or feel comfortable wearing a formal gown, the committee would work with her to “bedazzle” whatever she would feel comfortable wearing.
Pageant participants will be provided with individual mentors to assist them through any pre-pageant events and the pageant itself. Any safety or security concerns of the candidates will be addressed specifically by the committee. Spalon Montage of Woodbury, Minn., will provide hair and makeup services to candidates.
The emcee for the pageant will be former Viking and Packer football player Esera Tuaolo, who will also sing. There is also a possibility that the Vikings cheerleaders will attend. Tickets for the pageant will be $5 and any proceeds left after expenses will be donated to Bridge. The location of the pageant has not been determined.
Candidates and anyone interested in sponsorship, or in making a contribution to the pageant, can contact Shelby Lokken at (715) 220-2290, or Kym Lokken at (715) 381-1896.