As one Fourth of July tradition apparently came to an end, another began last weekend for the Whitehall Community Celebration Association.
For decades, the association has played host to a series of pageants to kick off Whitehall's Fourth of July activities.
Those pageants included a Beautiful Baby contest open to boys and girls, in addition to a series of pageants for girls competing for the titles of Little Miss Whitehall, Junior Miss Whitehall, Young Miss Whitehall and Miss Whitehall.
This year, the four girls-only pageants were scrapped and replaced with a new Ambassador Pageant open to boys and girls.
"I would say it was a success," said Karen Conison, president of the Whitehall Community Celebration Association. "We had wonderful children who were all there because of the love they have for community and family."
The decision was made in reaction to the dwindling number of contestants in the girls-only pageants, said Leo Knoblauch, a past president of the WCCA.
Conison said the WCCA received little negative feedback about the absence of the girls-only pageants. The association is moving forward with a plan to focus on how to tweak the Ambassador Pageant for the future, she said.
"We will talk to the community and try and get a better understanding of what they would like to see," Conison said. "We will talk to the schools, too."
The Baby Pageant and the Ambassador Pageant both are expected to be held next year, she said.
As the first Ambassador Pageant neared on the calendar, organizers briefly thought the idea would fail before it even got off the ground.
By June 14, no one had entered the June 29 pageant, Knoblauch said -- but enough parents met the June 22 entry deadline to allow the event to be held.
"We wish we would have had some older representation," Conison said, adding the pageant otherwise was a successful inaugural event.
This year's pageant winners are:
Little Miss Ambassador, Kendall Ruck, daughter of Christian Ruck; Little Mr. Ambassador, Elijah Cooper, son of Chris and Ruth Cooper; Junior Miss Ambassador, Peyton Osborne, daughter of Brandon and Amber Osborne; Junior Mr. Ambassador, Javin Criswell, son of Joe Criswell and Christian Ruck; and Young Miss Ambassador, Alyssa Cooper, daughter of Chris and Ruth Cooper.
The Beautiful Baby Boy is James Gwinn, son of Will and Crissy Gwinn; and the Beautiful Baby Girl is Kaysin Wheeler, daughter of Ricky and Danielle Wheeler.
Poise, personality and friendliness were among the criteria judges used in making selections.
The ambassadors will represent the WCCA at all its events, including the Easter Egg hunt, Halloween Walk and Breakfast with Santa.
"Ambassadors will help with registration and be greeters at the events," Conison said. "They will also be seen wearing sashes and other events such as Music in the Park and other recreation and parks events, too."
Whitehall's July Fourth festivities continue today, July 4, with a parade led by the city's police officers and firefighters.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at East Broad Street and South Yearling Road.
Marchers will head south on South Yearling Road to Etna Road and then turn west on Etna Road to John Bishop Park, where the parade will conclude.