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Miss Maryland contestants sign in to compete for state crown

June 26, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Miss Washington County Carrie Shank gave her family a fashion show in April, modeling outfits that she might wear during the Miss Maryland competition this week.

"We picked all of her outfits," said her mother, Sharon Shank. "We voted."

Carrie Shank was part of another fashion show Sunday, this time surrounded by 23 other women at Prime Outlets Hagerstown. The contestants wore clothes from the outlet mall.

"I get to model L.L. Bean," said Shank, 22, who lives outside of Boonsboro.

Sunday's event was the first of many this week for the Miss Maryland contestants. Shank said she was taking the competition one day at a time.

The contestants' sign-in ceremony and Maryland Princess crowning were scheduled to be outside but were moved to the food court because of rain. About 100 people gathered to watch the women introduce themselves and their platforms.

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"It's overwhelming," Sharon Shank said. "All of the girls are so beautiful and talented. I keep trying to hold back tears."

After the contestants introduced themselves, they crowned 40 Miss Maryland Princesses, said Courtney Thomas, Miss Maryland business manager. The princesses ranged from 4 to 12 years old. Eighteen Miss Maryland Outstanding Teens will be named Thursday.

"This area is so supportive for us," Thomas said. "We want to get the contestants out so the community can see what they are supporting."

Shank said her favorite part of Sunday's event was crowning the princesses. She said it was an opportunity to mentor two young girls, and she's enjoyed spending time with them.

She's also enjoyed getting to know her peers who are competing for the crown, Shanks said.

"The girls are so great," she said. "For me, it's like college and meeting everyone for the first time. Everyone has been really helpful. I expected they would be very welcoming."

Shank said she was looking forward to hearing the music selected for the opening of the pageant, and was just trying to enjoy herself.

"I'm just taking it moment by moment," she said.

Miss Maryland will be crowned Saturday night.

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