Photo Record

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Catalog Number 2010.002.031
Object Name Print, Photographic
Description Black and white photograph of the reigning Miss America, Maria Beale Fletcher of North Carolina, at the Miss Illinois pageant hosted in Elk Grove Village, June 1962.

Collection Elk Grove Historical Museum
Notes In 1961, the village's Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), under the direction of its 1961-62 president, Robert Beaupre, made a bid to hold the 1962 Miss Illinois Pageant in Elk Grove.

Elk Grove's candidate was known as Miss Peony Princess rather than Miss Elk Grove due to the community's significant tie in with the peony farms in the area. The local Klehm Nursery provided peony bouquets for both the Miss Peony Princess Pageant and the Miss Illinois Pageant held in Elk Grove. The Miss Peony Princess for 1962 was Jana Flores.

The number of contestants involved varied from 40 to 47 in the different press releases. The competition would be held at 8:00 each evening on June 27, 28 and 29. A parade would occur at 2:00 PM Saturday with the pageant winner being named Saturday night. More than $7,000 worth of scholarships and merchandise would be awarded to the winner and other finalists.

A unique "air bubble theater" was raised in June of 1962 between Arlington Heights Road and Wildwood Street, on the north side of Higgins Road. This theater "balloon" was constructed of fire-resistant vinyl-coated nylon and would be anchored at its base by sandbags. It would be 220 feet by 100 feet in size and 60 feet high.

The winner of the 1962 contest was Miss Carbondale, Pam Gilbert who was crowned by the reigning Miss America, Maria Beale Fletcher of North Carolina. Gilbert received a trophy provided by the Elk Grove Village Jaycees, a $1000 scholarship from Pepsi Cola Bottlers of Illinois, a $500 scholarship from Centex Construction Company, a $500 scholarship from the Illinois Jaycees and several merchandise prizes including a calf donated by the Maitre d' Restaurant. She planned to use the scholarship funds to complete her college education and pursue a masters degree.
Source Maggie McCarthy
Search Terms Junior Chamber of Commerce
Jaycees
Pageant