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Miss Plymouth Exhibit and Annual Historical Dinner Speaker

April 18, 2013
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  04/19/13 The Marshall County Museum is revisiting the historic era from the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s when young ladies from all over the county came together to showcase their talent and beauty, gain confidence, and win scholarships, during the nostalgic 30-year run of the Miss Plymouth Pageant. The museum is remembering the Miss Plymouth Pageant not only with an exhibit, but with a reunion dinner and featured guest speaker.  Several of the former Miss Plymouths will be making a personal appearance, reuniting for an evening of fun and merriment during the Marshall County Historical Society Annual Dinner on Wednesday, May 22 at Christo’s Banquet Center. The featured speaker, Tommye Lou (Glaze) Beavers will talk about her experience as the first Miss Plymouth, former Miss Indiana, and being 4th runner-up in the Miss America Pageant.  She will be joined by several former Miss Plymouths to reminisce about their most memorable pageant moments.

Tickets to the Marshall County Historical Society annual Dinner can be purchased at the museum for $25.00 for members of the Historical Society, or $30.00 for nonmembers.  The social hour will begin at 6 PM, followed by dinner at 7 PM, and the featured speaker after the dinner.   Contact the museum for tickets to the Miss Plymouth event by calling 574-936-2306, or email the museum at mlangdon@mchistoricalsociety.org.

The history of the Miss Plymouth Pageant will bring back memories for the entire community.  Those beloved beauties of Marshall County won an impressive four Miss Indiana titles, and three of the Miss Indianas even placed as runner-up to Miss America, not to mention 2003 Plymouth High School graduate Nicole Rash, who was crowned the 2007 Miss Indiana and finished lst runner-up to Miss America via the Miss Ball State Pageant.

The great showing at the state and national levels can be credited to some amazingly talented young ladies, but also to the hard work that went on behind the scenes by people like Frances (Martindale) Burden, Margaret Roahrig, and Don Morrison.   Frances Burden’s father, Paul Swearingen, owner of Swearingen’s Shoe Store and “Plymouth promoter,” was one of the pageant originators, along with Manford Van Gilder. These dedicated individuals attended many statewide pageants and found the secret ingredient needed for a successful pageant.

Through the hard work of all, the Miss Plymouth Pageant grew to have a reputation of excellence. Bruce Saunders, former WSBT weatherman, emceed many of the Miss Plymouth pageants with his suave and professional style.   A Miss Plymouth parade was part of the ceremonial pomp and circumstance surrounding the event, and introduced the new candidates to the community each year with the contestants riding on top of convertibles from Centennial Park to Centennial Auditorium, where the event took place.

  The Miss Plymouth competitions actually began in 1958 when the first Miss Plymouth, Culver native, Tommye Lou Glaze won the coveted title with her captivating smile, bright eyes and melodious vocal renditions.  But it wasn’t until 2 years later, when she won her second Miss Plymouth title that she went on to be selected as Miss Indiana, and then, 4th runner-up to Miss America.  She set the standard and paved the way for future contestants that would someday follow in her footsteps.

Several months ago, when Tommye Lou (Glaze) Beavers called the Marshall County Museum inquiring about donating the gown she wore in the Miss America Pageant to the museum, an idea was sparked to put together an exhibit featuring “The Gowns of Miss Indiana.”  After contacting the other former Miss Plymouths from all over the country, many agreed to send in their gowns to help create the spectacular Miss Plymouth and Miss Indiana exhibit currently featured at the Marshall County Museum.

The museum welcomes the public to visit and enjoy the display of the four gowns worn by Miss Indiana winners as well as other authentic Miss Plymouth gowns.  Miss Plymouth had representation from all of the communities in Marshall County, not just “Plymouth.”  There was a Miss Indiana from Culver, Etna Green, Bremen, as well as Bourbon.  The glitzy and glamorous fuchsia and black velvet sequin gown created especially for LaPaz native, Nicole Rash for the Talent Competition of the Miss America Pageant is part of the museum exhibit. It was created especially for Nicole by designer, Johnathon Kayne from “Project Runway.”

Other vintage gowns worn by former Miss Plymouths, a true representation of that “psychedelic era” of the 60’s and 70’s, are part of the first floor exhibit at the museum.   All of the Miss Plymouth winners from 1958 – 1987 are represented in the exhibit, along with many photographs, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, programs and other memorabilia.  Encounter these historic displays and many others during a visit to the Marshall County Museum in downtown Plymouth!

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