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Men get in touch with their feminine sides for pageant

February 12, 2002

Men get in touch with their feminine sides for pageant



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY
andreabh@herald-mail.com


FUNKSTOWN - Despite his too-snug dress and hairy legs, Mike Doarnberger was crowned Miss Funkstown in December during the Guys & Gals Show at American Legion Post 211.

The pageant, in which female Legion auxiliary members dressed as men to escort male Legion members dressed as women, was held to raise money and toys for the Marine Corps League's Toys for Tots program.

Admission to the Dec. 22 show was one toy. The more than 225 people who attended donated such toys as bicycles, dolls and farm sets.

"These were fabulous toys. They weren't little," said Legion Manager Jeff Doarnberger, who organized the show with his Legion staff members.

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Bar Manager Donna Cunningham and other employees "did a terrific job," he said.

The event raised $1,080 in financial donations and three truckloads of toys, Doarnberger said. Twenty-four "couples" participated in the audience-judged beauty pageant.

Show queen Mike Doarnberger refused to shave his legs but said he didn't mind donning a sequined red dress, black pumps and panty hose for the show.

"It's for the kids. That's all that matters," said Doarnberger, 58, third vice commander at the Legion.

The Doarnberger brothers and other male participants dressed in donated clothing and applied their wigs and makeup beforehand with the help of their wives, girlfriends and other female volunteers.

Mike Doarnberger said he got some strange looks while shopping for panty hose and accessories with his wife at a local supermarket earlier in the day. He squeezed into his dress - size unknown - and managed to fit his extra wide feet into a pair of women's pumps.

"The shoes were the worst. Everything else was a piece of cake," Doarnberger said. "I didn't think them panty hose would be so easy to get in to."

Several U.S. Marines from Frederick, Md., kicked off the show by escorting the reigning Miss Funkstown, Tommy Schwartz, into the Legion. Schwartz was crowned Miss Funkstown last May during a Legion fund-raiser for a young cancer patient, Jeff Doarnberger said.

That first show, "A Little Bit on the Trashy Side," was such a success - members had a blast and raised $3,500 for the boy with leukemia - that Doarnberger decided to stage another pageant for Toys for Tots.

The competing couples were announced, circled the room, answered questions or performed talent shows, and worked the crowd to get winning votes.

Mike Doarnberger and Little sang a Legion-related song that Little wrote based upon the "Twelve Days of Christmas." The "Twelve Tip Jars of Christmas" was a big hit with the audience, Doarnberger said.

But it was his charming personality that garnered him the most audience donations as he worked the crowd to raise money for Toys for Tots and secure his title as Miss Funkstown.

"I danced, talked, flirted - whatever, you name it," Doarnberger said.

His brother shaved his beard for the event and dressed in a red and black ensemble to portray "Miss Green Acres."

"Everybody kept telling me I looked like their fourth-grade teacher," said Jeff Doarnberger, 43.

The atmosphere throughout the event was friendly and festive, he said.

"You couldn't have asked for a better crowd," Doarnberger said. "Everything went great."

He said he plans to stage a similar show next December to help the Toys for Tots program.

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