The 2019 Miss Kansas competition starts this week in Pratt and volunteers, business owners, and city workers are in the throes of preparation for the big annual event to be held June 6, 7 and 8.
Kiwanis Club immediate past president Stephanie Becker said the Miss Kansas parade, held on Friday evening in years past, will be on Saturday morning this year.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve had a morning parade,” Becker said. “We’re happy that it is in the morning this year because it will be cooler.”
The parade will start at 10 a.m. and will proceed south on Main to Seventh Street.
Prior to the parade, Miss Kansas and Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen candidates will be at the Pratt Municipal Building, Third and Jackson streets, for autograph sessions at 9 a.m. Saturday.
This new schedule reflects a later-than-usual arrival of all the candidates to Pratt for the week, something which used to take place on Monday has been pushed back to Tuesday, June 4.
Downtown merchants like Lou Lynn Moss at The Flower Shoppe, Tonja Harrison of Balloons and More Inc. and Cathy Hergenreder of Memories have already spent many hours getting ready for one of Pratt’s biggest visitor weeks.
Moss said The Flower Shoppe has been presenting arm bouquets at the crowning ceremonies for several decades, and she has many of them already prepared.
“We began in the 1970s. I’ve seen a lot of Miss Kansas winners and all of them seem to love the bouquets,” Moss said. “I love the thank-you notes I’ve received from them over the years.”
Harrison at Balloons and More said she has crafted a variety of sunflower arrangements for the Miss Kansas competition during her 11 years in business. She said that tumblers, fruit baskets and KETO baskets are also popular as gifts for the candidates and many of the Sunflower Princesses who are local girls.
“We can make personalized gift baskets and deliver them free to PCC for the participants,” Harrison said.
Hergenreder at Memories said every year she selects a special item to celebrate the event.
“This year it’s a State of Kansas charm with a heart cut out to designate Pratt’s location,” Hergenreder said.
For shoppers looking for memorable small gifts to give to candidates, Hergenreder said she thinks Memories’ selection of scented sachets will fill the bill.
“Each of them has an inspirational message and they smell wonderful,” Hergenreder said. “They come in a variety of colors.”
Hergenreder said she particularly likes the inspirational sayings, such as “I Can, I Will,” and “I Am Blessed,” because they reflect the passion of the candidates.
Other popular items during past Miss Kansas events have included magnetic bracelets with inspirational sayings, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds and an array of other sunflower-themed offerings.
Hergenreder said she thinks visitors will enjoy visiting many of Pratt’s stores during their stay for the week-long event.
“We’re lucky to have as many wonderful shops as we have,” she said.
Pratt Public Works Director Russ Rambat said all city departments have been focused on making sure the city looks its best for the influx of visitors with sidewalk projects finished, grass mowed and flowers tended at all points on city property.
“We’re putting our best foot forward,” said city manager Rick Eckert. “This is a wonderful event for Pratt and every year the city tries to excel in our beautification efforts. We’re getting everything ready for contestants and their families.”