The fourth annual Pageant of Hope for girls with special needs took place March 2 at Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel in St. Paul.
Thirty-two contestants participated in five age categories in the pageant intended to foster self-confidence in the girls and young women.
Among the age group categories were: Little Miss Hope, princesses ages one to four; Junior Miss Hope, princesses ages five to 10; Teen Miss Hope, princesses ages 11 to 18; Miss Hope, princesses ages 19 to 24; and Ms. Hope, princesses ages 25 to 32.
Master of ceremonies was Karla Blomberg of Wishes & More, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Blomberg received emcee assistance from Tom Maslowski and Hanna Maslowski of Blaine.
The evening started off with a social hour, followed by a dinner and pageant competition. The girls competed in casual wear and formal wear.
The Russo Brothers provided the entertainment for the evening. As a finale, the 2013 Pageant of Hope princesses (all contestants) were crowned in a ceremony, followed by an award presentation. Sharon and Duane Banack were event directors, while Toni Thomas coordinated the event.
Pageant of Hope was co-founded by Lisa and Tom Maslowski and Lynn and Bill Grosse. Inspiration for creating the pageant came from Hanna Maslowski, Tom and Lisa’s daughter, who has cerebral palsy.
Hanna, now 16, is a ninth-grader at Spring Lake Park High School.
“These girls are not only beautiful and talented but they are strong, courageous and determined,” Hanna said in a speech at the pageant.