In spite of the ever changing COVID-19 situation, Miss Deer Park organizers have not given up. The effects of COVID-19 are seeping into every corner of Deer Park and making changes to many of our favorite local traditions. By March, planning for the Miss Deer Park Scholarship event should be in full swing.
Event organizers are waiting to see what restrictions will be in place at the time of their 2021 event so they can make plans for this year’s program. In a recent phone conversation Melissa Pyeatt, Miss Deer Park Scholarship Association president and royalty advisor, stressed, “We’re still here, and we are trying to provide an event and a scholarship program for our girls.”
The Miss Deer Park Scholarship Association has been serving our area since its founding in 1995. Last year saw a record fundraising year, bringing in $8,600 in donations both from individuals, affectionately called “memory keepers,” and from local businesses. 100 percent of those donations go directly to the scholarship recipients. The association itself is funded primarily by ticket sales to their annual event. In addition to receiving scholarship money, these young ladies debut on the Deer Park float at the Settlers Day Parade. They also travel with that float to other local parades as representatives of our community. Each year, royalty is invited to many special events in and around Deer Park, such as: Pumpkin Lane, Winter Fest, Santa rides with the fire department, fundraisers, and more.
How is This Year Different?
Since the initial ‘two weeks to slow the spread’ push on March 13, 2020, events statewide have been canceled or modified to help prevent community spread of COVID-19. As a result, the existing royalty has extended their agreements until the 2021 Settlers Day Parade, when they will pass the torch to the newly crowned junior girls. The 2020 Settlers Day Parade was limited to only the royalty float, giving the ladies a chance to travel with the Deer Park float, albeit in a scaled down celebration. The 2020 royalty did have the opportunity to participate in a 28 days of thankfulness event in November, where they highlighted the businesses that have supported the scholarship program. Photos can be viewed on their Facebook page: FB.me/missdeerpark
Melissa Pyeatt stated that, “we want to do right by everybody,” so they will have an event this year for the 11 girls that have already expressed interest. Organizers are currently looking at April 2021, and will shape the event around restrictions in place at that time.
How Can You Help?
Fundraising events have been hindered by COVID restrictions and the economic impact that has followed. Individuals can participate in the ‘memory keepers’ program with their donations. In addition, event organizers are currently on the search for a new host location, as
Deer Park High School is not currently allowed to hold events. As restrictions begin to lift and events are open again, consider inviting the royalty to functions like local fundraisers, open houses, book readings, and other local events where these ladies can represent and help celebrate the Deer Park community.
If you know of any local businesses interested in supporting the program, they can reach out to organizers by emailing: [email protected]
Photo Courtesy of Miss Deer Park Association
Princesses Isabella Sedeno, and Janessa Sexton with Miss Deer Park 2020 Ainsley Carpenter representing our beautiful town in the Festival of Lights Parade.