When it comes to helping out the community, 13 “ladies” — decked out in strappy high heels and formal gowns — will compete for the title of Mz. Gorgeous to raise money for Afton City Park splash pad 7 p.m. Saturday at East Union High School’s auditorium.
According to Afton City Clerk Toni Landers, Mz. Gorgeous is a beauty pageant where men of the town dress up as women and compete in three categories — evening gowns, lingerie and talent. Master of Ceremonies Rick Foote of Afton will also ask each contestant a series of questions.
After each division, contestants will “work the audience” to solicit monetary votes. A winner in each category will be named based on the amount of donations received. An overall Mz. Gorgeous will also be named at the end of the evening and presented a sash.
“It’s really just guys in the community being silly for us to raise money,” Landers said.
Rick Friday, who was crowned Mz. Gorgeous in 1986, is among the participants who is returning to “defend his title.”
Other contestants include Dwain Ripperger, Josh Hamilton, Allan Landers, Adam Tallmon, Anthony Weeks, Todd Hamilton, Chad Cass, Mike Fry, Darren Moore, Justin Staver, Duane Price and Bryson Kenyon.
“Some are really outgoing and others are, like, ‘why am I in a dress?’” Landers said.
Earlier this week, Sheila Sutton, of Sutton Studios in Afton, took to the streets with each “girl” to shoot photos for a calendar, which will be sold for $10 at the event.
Proceeds from calendar sales will also contribute to the splash pad fund.
Splash pad update
Of the $107,000 needed to complete Afton’s splash pad, more than $93,000 has been raised.
In addition to $25,000 from The Dekko Foundation, $5,000 from Youth Answering the Call of the Community (YACC), $4,500 from Endow Union County and $35,000 of city designated funds from local option sales tax, the splash pad project has received $1,000 from Caseys General Store and $3,500 from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.
Landers said the community support has been “overwhelming.”
“People have been very supportive,” Landers said. “Even if they don’t have a lot to give, they give what they can ... they want to see it happen.”
Landers said the city is currently working on obtaining quotes from engineers and will likely be summer before the splash pad is constructed. An opening date has not yet been determined.
The splash pad offers a free place for anyone to cool down and relax. Because there will not be any standing water, the splash pad is a low cost alternative to a community pool. The closest swimming locations to Afton are Three Mile Lake and Creston City Pool.
“Swimming pools are a hard thing to maintain for smaller cities like ours because they aren’t usually money making,” said Landers. “Staffing them, hiring life guards and maintaining it would be an overwhelming expense for us.”
Landers said the splash pad, which will feature sprayers and buckets that fill and dump water will be fun for anyone of any age.
“I think it’s good for the kids and the families because there will be something extra to do,” Landers said.
The greatest benefit is the anticipation of more people in Afton’s city park.
“They might stop by for ice cream, see local businesses and eat at local restaurants,” said Landers. “An overall draw to the community.”