Raleigh, N.C. — The Miss North Carolina scholarship pageant is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.
The styles, the swimsuits, the gowns and the crowning accomplishments – chronicled through the years – will go on display at 9 a.m. Friday. The 2012 pageant is at 8 p.m. Saturday in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.
The winner will go on to compete in the Miss America Pageant in 2013.
McNeil Chestnut has been involved with both pageants for the last four decades. In fact, his expertise dates back to high school, when he became musical director for the Miss Roanoke Rapids pageant.
"I sure knew where the pretty girls were," he said. "They were a part of the dance school and they became part of the pageant."
Chestnut said the competitions are about more than just beauty.
"Some think this is just a pageant," he said. "Look into the substance of the young women competing now, and what they're doing for themselves."
The pageants rest their crowns on four ideals: service, style, success and scholarship, Chestnut said. He hopes the museum exhibit will educate people about the important work pageant winners do after the gowns and makeup come off.
"Last night, Ms. Fayetteville got an award. She had raised approximately $20,000 for Children's Miracle Network," Chestnut said. "It's incredible. It's a real inspiration."