BALATON - Sometimes kids provide the best entertainment; they are free of inhibitions and full of energy. And they really do say and do the "darnedest" things.
Ten contestants ages 5-7 competed this week in the categories of Sunday Best, Short Answer and Individual Talent for a chance to be crowned Lit'l Miss or Lit'l Mister Balaton and ride in the Grand Parade today.
Three judges from out of town evaluated each contestant's performance and poise as they displayed their Sunday Best clothing across the stage.
Photo by Katy Palmer
Lit’l Mister Balaton Blake Kruger, 5, and Lit’l Miss Balaton Kamryn Petersen, 5, were crowned Thursday.
The Short Answer portion filled the gym with laughter as host Sara Larson, dressed in tails and a purple wig, asked the contestants questions such as, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and "What do you like best about Balaton?"
A number of the contestants said they wanted to be a veterinary doctor.
Kassidy Louwagie, 6, said she wanted to be a hairstylist in Tracy and turned around to show the crowd her skills on her curly up-do.
The judges thought the contestants did a "very good job answering the tough questions."
Next, the contestants braved the talent portion of the pageant. The talent acts ranged from dancing and singing to going fishing and storytelling.
Contestant Simon Gravley, 5, was particularly entertaining and gave the crowd a show with his song, "Pants on the Ground," adding some original dance moves.
After an intermission for the judges' calculations and a group performance of "Yankee Doodle" by the contestants, Larson announced and crowned the winners - Lit'l Mister Blake Kruger, 5, son of Daniel and Jody Kruger and Lit'l Miss Kamryn Petersen, 5, daughter of Craig and Amanda Petersen.
The other contestants supported Kruger and Petersen as they accepted their crowns, surprised and smiling.
Petersen's talent was gymnastics and dance, showing off her three years of dance training in Marshall. Her proud grandpa Gene Bloemendaal of Pipestone said, "She does gymnastics all over the house and she has a trampoline at home, too." He was very supportive of this event, saying that it "builds confidence."
Kruger sang "King of the Universe" for his talent. He celebrated after the pageant with his family.
"Congratulations to all the contestants," said the judges. "We hope to do this again next summer."
This pageant kick-started Balaton's Fun Fest weekend, which Larson said is the "heart of Balaton. This was a nice addition to the weekend."
The judges said this event was "definitely worth the trip."