As you know from my other blog posts, I have several grandkids, a niece, and a nephew who are or have been pageant queens or kings. They've been involved with a few beauty pageants that involved appearances and get-togethers. Some of these were for the winners only, while a couple of others had parties for all the contestants before the actual pageant - like the day or the weekend before.
I think this is a great idea! It encourages camaraderie among the contestants and among the parents. It gives the contestants a chance to get to know the director, and the director to get to know her contestants or her kings/queens. It also makes everyone feel more at ease, and in the case of a pre-pageant get-together for everyone, the contestants won't be nearly as nervous on stage. This is especially true with younger kids who might be entering their first child pageant or toddler pageant.
This doesn't have to be a fancy affair. In fact, laid back and casual is better! A cookout is a great idea. Find some great BBQ cooking recipes, and have an outdoor event. If the weather isn't suitable for cooking and dining outdoors, have a sit-down meal with some tasty Southern food. If you don't want to do all the work yourself, have each contestant's parent bring a dish for a pot luck supper.
Southern food is, well, uniquely "Southern," just like the glitz pageants phenomenon is. Sure, the rest of the nation might have a few glitz pageants here and there, but it's not ingrained into the culture the way it is in the South.
Believe me, when pageant directors "go the extra mile" for their contestants, the contestants and parents appreciate it and remember it. They'll be much more likely to enter one of your pageants again, and they'll be certain to spread the word, too!