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Palates pleased for pageant's benefit

November 06, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HALFWAY - If she decides to compete for Miss Maryland, Samantha Kreps said she knows she will need more than beauty.

At 8 years old, Samantha is too young to participate, but as a Miss Maryland Princess, she has learned about the competition.

"That it's not a beauty pageant," said Samantha, of Clear Spring. She sat with her mother, Jackie Kreps, Sunday at a table at Plaza Hotel, where supporters of the Miss Washington County/Miss Western Maryland Scholarship program turned out for Taste of Washington County.

Women and girls in tiaras mingled with people who came to sample local restaurants' offerings and place their bids on silent auction items, including wreaths, a curio cabinet and gift baskets.

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For Betty Smith of Hagerstown, the event was a good place to go shopping. With no children or grandchildren, the 78-year-old said she enjoys shopping for others.

"I just spend money and give it away," Smith said. She said she put her name on several silent auction lists, and event host Tom Riford announced her name as the highest bidder for several items.

According to Barbara Carson, Taste of Washington County typically raises about $2,500 for the pageant's scholarship fund. Last year, the pageant gave out more than $7,000 in scholarships, she said.

About 75 people attended the event, said Carson, who serves as secretary treasurer on the pageant's board of directors.

Miss Washington County Carrie Shank, 22, of Boonsboro, said she plans to put her winnings toward her college loans. She said she recently graduated from High Point University in North Carolina. She and Autumn Smith, 22, of Cumberland, Md., said they gained interviewing skills by competing in last year's Miss Maryland pageant.

A first-time participant, Shank, who was a psychology and business administration major in college, said she was thrilled to win at the local level.

"It was very surreal for me, like a little girl's dream come true," Shank said.

For Samantha, being a Miss Maryland Princess in both of the mentoring program's first two years has had its rewards.

According to Samantha, she likes wearing the crown.

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