Did you know the Miss Winnipesaukee/Miss Weirs Beach Scholarship Program is the oldest, longest continuously running local program in the Miss America Organization? In the summer of 1925, Jim Irwin opened Irwin’s Winnipesaukee Gardens, a dance hall located on the Weirs Beach Pier on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Inspired by the success Atlantic City was having with the Miss America Pageant (which launched on September 8, 1921), he started the Miss Winnipesaukee Bathing Beauty Pageant. In August of 1925, the first Miss Winnipesaukee, Alma Cavagnaro was crowned. The pageant was held in The Gardens for many decades, eventually being taken over by the Chamber of Commerce when the hall closed. Bob Lawton, the owner of Funspot, took over operation of the pageant forty-five years ago in 1969.
Since moving to Funspot, Miss Winnipesaukee has been crowned Miss New Hampshire seven times:
- 1976 Margaret Spellacy
- 1980 Diane McGarry
- 1983 Monica Rastallis
- 1996 Michelle Tolson
- 1998 Heidi Marie Noyes
- 2001 Katherine Lise Pike
- 2006 Emily Hughes
The Miss Weirs Beach title was launched later, retired, and then restored in 2007:
- Miss Weirs Beach 2007 Justine Barker
- Miss Weirs Beach 2008 Asheley Chaput
- Miss Weirs Beach 2009 Megan Lyman
- Miss Weirs Beach 2010 Chantel McCabe
- Miss Weirs Beach 2011 Julia Neveu
- Miss Weirs Beach 2012 Devenn Glickman
- Miss Weirs Beach 2013 that’s me!
I feel very lucky to follow in the footsteps of the incredible women who have served as Miss Winnipesaukee and Miss Weirs Beach. Please visit http://www.misswinnipesaukee.org to explore historical photos and news articles from the past 90 years. And join us on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at Funspot and Gunstock Mountain Resort for the 90th Miss Winnipesaukee/Miss Weirs Beach Scholarship Program.
(Sources: Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society and Miss Winnipesaukee Website/Facebook)