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Third time is a charm for Little Miss Channahon

Published: Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Kris Stadalsky for Shaw Media)
The new Little Miss Channahon Mary Jane Kosek (from left), first runner-up Kora Kotowski, second runner-up Ericka Perakis and third runner-up Lakin Thieme.
Caption
(Kris Stadalsky for Shaw Media)
Little Miss Channahon 2014 Mary Jane Kosek with the 2010 Little Miss Channahon Madison Guillette.
Caption
(Kris Stadalsky for Shaw Media)
Little Miss Channahon contestants Lakin Thieme, Kaitlyn Wurzinger and Ericka Perakis dance and sing to music from "Frozen."

CHANNAHON – The third time was a charm for the newly chosen Little Miss Channahon, Mary Jane Kosek.

It was the third year the 8-year- old, soon-to-be third-grader, had participated in the contest, said her mom, Misty Kosek.

“I am really happy,” gushed Mary Jane after receiving her crown and sash.

The contest started the evening of Aug. 7 with the 12 contestants singing and dancing to songs from the Disney movie “Frozen,” which was this year’s theme.

“It’s probably one of the best Disney movies we have seen in years,” show coordinator Dawn Daniels said. “Every girl [contestant] knew every word of the songs. They are having a blast.”

Little Miss Channahon 2010, Madison Guillette, returned to read each contestant’s biography.

“It’s so fun to be here; I like to share this experience over and over again,” Guillette said.

Now 12, Guillette said being a Little Miss Channahon was like being a princess for the year.

“It was so fun, I was overjoyed to do [the contest] and then I won. I enjoyed it all the way,” she said.

Young girls have been competing for Little Miss Channahon for more than 20 years. It’s open to girls ages 6, 7 and 8. This year, the contest was opened to Channahon Township residents for the first time, Daniels said.

“It’s more about poise and confidence, not toddlers in tiaras,” said Daniels, referring to competitive beauty contests. “I tell the girls it’s not how well you do something; it’s about being calm, cool and collected.”

Despite the screams and cheers from the carnival riders in the background at Three Rivers Fest, the little ladies did appear calm and collected during the reading of their biographies.

One by one they paused at various points on the stage to wave to the audience and judges, each wearing a “Frozen” T-shirt.

After a quick wardrobe change into their own favorite summer outfits, each girl was interviewed by Daniels so the panel of judges could get a sense of their personalities and see how they responded.

The outgoing Little Miss Channahon typically returns for a performance of her choosing and to crown the new winner. Carly Berta, who won the 2013 crown, chose to read a synopsis of her year.

“When I won, it was my second time being a part of Little Miss Channahon,” Berta said. “I didn’t place at all [the first time] but I still had so much fun.

“Even if you don’t win, don’t feel bad. Have lots of fun just being part of the contest.”

Daniels then announced the winner of the most creative craft – the decorating of a reindeer like Sven from the movie. Kaitlyn Wurzinger won a basket of prizes for her design.

After performances and interviews were complete, the judges made their final choices for Little Miss Channahon and her court of three runners-up who will represent the village at various events throughout the next year.

Little Miss Channahon Mary Jane is the daughter of Misty and Jerry Kosek. The first runner-up is 7-year-old Kora Kotowski, daughter of Erin and Adam Kotowski; second runner-up went to 7-year-old Ericka Perakis, daughter of Fran and Bill Perakis; and third runner-up is 6-year-old Lakin Thieme, daughter of Tonya and Travis Thieme.

Mary Jane said she loves to sing, dance and swim. When she grows up, she would like to be a social worker like her mom.

She is most looking forward to riding in a horse-drawn carriage during Channahon’s holiday tree-lighting event.

“The best part [of winning] is that everybody is happy,” she said.

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