As part of Hispanic Heritage week, Miss Fiesta del Pueblo pageant sponsored by The Howard Center happened at the Howard Auditorium on Sept. 22. The eight contestants were judged by five categories: interview, introduction, Mexican artisan attire, evening gown, and on-stage questioning.
The event had performances from Tifton’s Dancers Pointe, former Miss Fiesta del Pueblo, Daliani Frometa, and Adriana Beltran. As usual, many of the contestants have never participated in a pageant until this one. Magdalena Valencia, a contestant, participated because of the encouragement of others.
She says, “They saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself. I also wanted to prove to my cousin, who looks up to me, that you need to love yourself and take chances you’re afraid to take!”
Samantha Rodriguez received the People’s Choice Award, which is when the public votes for their favorite candidate on social media by liking her photo on Miss Fiesta del Pueblo’s Facebook page. Julie Ramirez won 3rd place and Sophia Suarez won 2nd place. Both contestants took home gift certificates from Angel’s Touch, El Metate, El Cazador and Fresco Italiano. Magdalena Valencia also received these gift certificates and took home $1,000 as the 2018 Miss Fiesta Del Pueblo.
She is still surprised that she had won. “Honestly, it has not hit me until now! It was so unexpected, but when I got crowned, it felt amazing. I tried so hard to hold back the tears of joy until I saw my mother,” said Magdalena. “Being Miss Fiesta del Pueblo 2018 is such an honor and I can’t wait to be an example for younger Hispanic girls who would like to be in the pageant in the future.”
Miss Fiesta Del Pueblo pageant continues to evolve throughout the years. This year, Aguilar introduced the Woman of the Year award which was given to Olga Hernandez for her dedication and leadership to the Hispanic community in Tifton. It is important because it allows young Latina women to overcome insecurities such as self-image and the stigmas that surround the Latino community by allowing them to feel confident about themselves and proud of their heritage. The pageant kicks off La Fiesta Del Pueblo which gives the community an opportunity to experience Latino culture first hand.