Food for a cause at taste of Washington County

November 07, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - Don't tell Ron Thomas the Miss Washington County-Miss Western Maryland Scholarship program is a pageant.

It's a scholarship program, says Thomas, who sits on the foundation's board of directors.

Sunday, the program was about food.

The foundation's Taste of Washington County at Plaza Hotel raised about $2,000 toward scholarships, Miss Washington County Executive Director Denise Apple said Sunday.

"Everybody likes food, I know I like food. I look forward to it," Miss Washington County 2005 Emily Conrad said as the third-annual event drew to a close.


Apple and Sandy Miller, the executive director of the Miss Western Maryland competition, said they were pleased with the amount of money raised.

"It goes to scholarship, and we're able to increase our scholarship fund," Miller said.

In one room, people enjoyed food from about a dozen local vendors, while in a separate area, people looked over items in a silent auction. Up for grabs were a five-video collection of Red Skelton hits, a 1960s-era red firetruck toy, a dark wood quilt rack and other items.

Regina Swope of Hagerstown sat with her husband as well as Thomas and Thomas' wife at a table as workers from various restaurants packed up their offerings. Swope had a few last-minute recommendations.

"The crab bisque was excellent, the crab cakes were very good, and the barbecue from Michelle's (Restaurant in Hagerstown) was delicious," Swope said.

The food grabbed up some patrons' attention, but the purpose was all academic, Thomas said. Last year, local girls and women won $6,000 in scholarships, Thomas said.

Thomas, who estimated he has sat on the board of directors for 24 years, said participation in the program has declined despite the opportunities the Miss America program offers young women.

"It's not a beauty pageant anymore. It's a scholarship program. It's not a beauty pageant," Thomas said.

Thomas said 70 percent of contestants' scores in the competition are determined by their performance in talent and interview segments.

"You're looking for a well-rounded person. You're looking for somebody who can be representative," Thomas said.

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