Razzesque Days brings small town together with pageant, activities

LEROY – After both her dog and horse recently passed away, Payton Fulmerhouser hoped for something to make her happy.

When the 9-year-old’s name was announced Friday as the 2012 Junior Miss LeRoy, the goal was achieved.

“I’m just really happy because I didn’t think I could make it because I’m the littlest one,” Payton said.

The Junior Miss LeRoy pageant was a new addition to the Miss LeRoy pageant during the LeRoy Razzasque Days festival this year. Six girls competed for the title of Junior Miss LeRoy, which was open to girls age nine to 13.

Stephanie VanAvery, 17, was crowned as the 2012 Miss LeRoy after being evaluated on an essay, prepared question and judges interview along with two other contestants.

VanAvery complimented LeRoy volunteers in her essay and answered she wanted to serve as a role model for younger girls when asked why she wanted to be Miss LeRoy.

“I’m super excited, I was so nervous coming in here, but I’m just so overwhelmed,” VanAvery said after being crowned.

The pageant not only is a fun tradition in the community, but pageant organizer Carey Johnson said it also benefits the competitors as well.

“Everybody has to go on a job interview at some point and this is a great way to (gain) experience,” Johnson said. “We do a judges interview and that is very similar to having a job interview. And the on-stage experience helps build confidence.”

Down the road at Zion Lutheran Church, community members gathered for an annual community pig roast.

“We used to hold it in October but we didn’t get a good turnout, so we switched it to Razzasque Days and we’ve had a great turnout for (the past few years),” said church member Russ Wayne.

After running out of meals at last year’s event, organizers ordered twice as much food, and cooked 196 pounds of pork along with eight quarters of ham.

“The Village Market gave us a good deal on pork and people in the community donated the desserts and salads,” Wayne said.

Ninety-nine percent of the proceeds raised at the event will benefit Gifts for Kids of Osceola County, a service which gives Christmas presents to children in the county.

Festival-goers agree that bringing the community together is what Razzasque Days is all about.

Lindsey Pacola has attended the annual festival with her family for years. Friday she stood near the inflatables watching her 2-year-old daughter Kendra bouncing around inside.

“I used to come with my mom when I was young,” Pacola said, when asked of her history with the festival.

The LeRoy resident said she looks forward to Razzasque

Days every year, and enjoys bringing her daughter to the kids activities.

“I think Razzasque Days will keep going from generation to generation,” she said.

Families spending quality time together were not the only ones benefitting from the two-day event.

From the golf outing Friday morning, to the street dance Saturday evening, the hubbub in the town also was profitable for LeRoy businesses.

“It brings tons of commerce to the area,” said Johnson, who also serves as the vice president of the Razzasque Days committee. “This is one of the biggest weekends for businesses in LeRoy.”

Though the number of people who come to the area to attend the festival is hard to calculate, Johnson said the family festival is the highlight of summer in the small community.

“We love it. We live for Razzasque Days,” Johnson said.

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from Razzesque Days.