Twenty-four ambitious and hopeful young women have descended on the central Kenai Peninsula this week to vie for the title of Alaska's Junior Miss 2004.
The competition will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Soldotna High School Auditorium and will be hosted by last year's Alaska Junior Miss, Rachel Warbelow, and Jessica Baumer, the 2003 Spirit of Junior Miss award winner.
The women have been in town since Monday and have a busy schedule of rehearsals, luncheons and service projects planned to keep them occupied until the competition Saturday, which will include dance routines and the girls' individual talent performances.
Five of the young women entertained members of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce during its regular weekly luncheon at the Riverside House Restaurant on Tuesday, four singing and one playing a violin solo.
After Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey read a proclamation designating the week in honor of the program, Sonja Head from Nome, Heather Apperson from Seward, Kiri Beckwith from Anchorage and Heidi Keller representing Soldotna High School sang songs they will use in the talent portion of Satur-day's program.
Ween Angulo-Aguirre, representing West Valley High School in Fairbanks ,played "Vivaldi in A Minor" on violin.
Ten girls from the peninsula are among the contestants. The women will be judged on scholastic achievement, interviews, fitness, poise and creative-performing arts.
Had the competition been held during Tuesday's luncheon, Keller may have come away with first-place in poise as she maintained her composure when her recorded musical accompaniment started skipping badly.
About 60 business people loudly applauded the efforts of Keller and the other four performers.
Up for grabs in the competition are cash and tuition scholarships totaling $9,200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the 46th annual America's Junior Miss National Finals in Mobile, Ala., in June.
Tickets for Saturday's event are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors and can be bought at the door.
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