Sixteen girls and 13 boys competed for the titles of the 2021 Mermaid Festival Cutie Queen and King Friday night, with Harper Vetor being named Cutie Queen and Zane Grady walking away with the Cutie King crown.
Harper, 5, is the daughter of Darrell and Acacia Vetor, Warsaw. Zane, 7, is the son of Curtis and Angie Grady, Syracuse.
Trophies for third, second and first runners-up also were handed out at the North Webster Community Center. For Cutie Queen, third runner-up went to Brystal Bower, 5, daughter of Joel and Rachal Bower, Leesburg; second runner-up went to Amelia “Millie” Shoemaker, 6, daughter of Curt and Amanda Shoemaker, Pierceton; and first runner-up went to Mariah Williams, 6, daughter of Chase Williams and Amy Pavel, North Webster. For Cutie King, third runner-up went to Kole Kreider, 5, son of Tayler and Kellie Kreider, South Whitley; second runner-up went to Gavin Jasso, 5, son of Nathaniel and Kayla Jasso, Millersburg; and first runner-up went to Brantley Jasso, 7, son of Nathaniel and Kayla Jasso, Millersburg.
Criteria for the Cutie King and Queen pageant included attitude and cooperation, suitable attire, self-confidence and appearance. The 2021 Cutie King and Queen were crowned by 2019’s royalty, as there was no pageant in 2020 due to the pandemic. The 2019 Cutie Queen was Brynn VanLaeken and the Cutie King was Oskar Moreno-Elst.
While the judges’ scores were being tabulated, the master of ceremonies, Phil Metcalf, announced the winners of the 75th Mermaid Festival Cutie Parade from Wednesday night. There were three different categories: walking, hand-drawn and motorized.
In the motorized category, fourth went to Ace Richcreek, son of Adam and Abbi Richcreek, Syracuse; third went to Amelia Beer, daughter of Jason and Whitney Beer, Milford; second went to Zane Grady, son of Curtis and Angie Grady, Syracuse; and first went to Ellie Kopkey, daughter of Nick and Holly Kopkey, North Manchester.
For the walking category, fourth went to Oskar Moreno-Elst, son of Ignacio and Katie Moreno-Elst, Detroit, Mich.; third went to Kenlee Grady, child of Matt and Wendy Grady, North Webster; second went to Kole Kreider, son of Tayler and Kelli Kreider, South Whitley; and first went to Amelia “Millie” Shoemaker, daughter of Curt and Amanda Shoemaker, Pierceton.
And in the hand-drawn category, fourth went to Valerie Vallejo, daughter of Karlie Velaszuez-Stump, Pierceton; third went to Nilah Moreno-Elst, daughter of Ignacio and Katie Moreno-Elst, Detroit, Mich.; second went to JD Kimmel, son of Sam and RaeAnne Kimmel, Greencastle; and first went to Remington Nabinger, child of Trent and Nicole Nabinger, North Webster.
The cutie pageant is sponsored by the North Webster Lady Lions Club and the Shoop Sports and Youth Foundation. The North Webster Lions Club supports the North Webster Area Community Services Inc., Scout Troop 726 and Cub Scout Pack 3726, North Webster Fire Department Halloween Party, the Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt, scholarships, North Webster PTO and the North Webster Community Center. There are 20 members of the North Webster Lions Club, according to Metcalf, and they are always looking for new members.
The scholarships for the Cutie King and Queen are made possible by the Shoop Sports and Youth Foundation.