The history of the Miss Florida F.I. Pageant includes a seven-year hiatus. But even with Hurricane Irma, this year’s pageant won’t be added to those missing years.
Originally scheduled for Oct. 2, Miss Florida, which celebrates its 45th anniversary, was rescheduled to Monday, Oct. 16 because of damages sustained to the host hotel – Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach. The First Annual Mr. Florida M.E. Pageant has also been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 15 at Bahia Mar, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. The pageants involve male and female impersonators.
Alyson Thomas, executive producer and president of Miss Florida and Mr. Florida, said she had no doubt she and the other organizers would be able to reschedule. “I knew the hotel would be accommodating. It’s part of doing things in Florida in the summer time. There’s nothing you can do about it but reschedule.”
In some cases, the rescheduling was welcome.
Joey Brooks, Miss Florida At Large 1989, wrote on Facebook that he couldn’t wait to “walk that runway proudly.” In an interview with SFGN, Brooks said he’s excited because the pageant is happening the same weekend as his birthday.
“I’m excited about going down there and seeing it at this venue. I think it’s going to be a big turnout,” Brooks said. He said in the earlier years, the event was held in Miami at The Dunes, which no longer exists, and The Fontainebleau. “This is the top pageant . . . the pageant you want to be in. It’s the biggest title to hold. They call it the event of the season. I’ve been to too many to count. And. as they say, ‘once a Miss Florida, always a Miss Florida,’” he said.
Brooks will have plenty of competition this year.
Thomas said there will be 12 contestants in the Mr. Florida and 20 to 24 in the Miss Florida. A smaller turnout is expected for the Mr. Florida, but Thomas said that’s to be expected. Thomas said Mr. Florida will be similar to Miss Florida with a formal competition, swim wear, question and answer portion, and crowning. But it will take some time to grow to the same level of popularity.
“It takes a good five to seven years for a pageant to take off. I’ve wanted to do Mr. Florida for a number of years. Logistically, it didn’t work in my favor. I’ve finally had an opportunity to devote the time to starting it. It was just time,” Thomas said. “There’s no other pageant that has the history and status as Miss Florida. There’s a lot going on and its actually very exciting for us.”
Miss Florida doors open at 6 p.m. and Mr. Florida opens doors open at 7 p.m. Both pageants begin at 8 p.m.
Tickets start at $25. Visit MissFloridaFiPageant.com for more information.