Lodi Forte still cherishes the sash she wore when she was crowned Miss Trail in 1951.

Lodi Forte still cherishes the sash she wore when she was crowned Miss Trail in 1951.

An evening in Trail, fit for a queen

Trail Ambassador Programme hosts pageant Friday night and welcomes former Miss Trail queens.

The hour is nearing and excitement is mounting toward which candidate will be crowned Miss Trail and bestowed to lead the celebrations of this year’s 50th  anniversary of Silver City Days celebrations.

Friday, the Trail Ambassador Programme will host its annual pageant in the Charles Bailey Theatre beginning at 7 p.m.

The evening promises to be high energy with plenty of entertainment.

“Our take is that we try to make this the best pageant that people can see, and this year our goal is to sell out our great evening of entertainment,” said Michelle Epp, six-year coordinator for the program.

Aside from crowning a new ambassador, the pageant committee decided to go big for the half-century celebrations and honour all the former Miss Trail winners.

One of the highlights of the pageant will be the introduction of 27 past queens, all of whom are excited for the walk down memory lane.

“All our ladies are looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and come back to their roots,” said Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson, Trail councillor.

“This has been a wonderful journey for everyone involved.”

For one former queen, memories of her year of reign have always been, quite simply, golden.

Lodi Forte (nee Bressanutti) was crowned Miss Trail in 1951, and titled Queen of the Golden Jubilee. That year, Trail celebrated its golden anniversary of when the town of Trail Creek was incorporated as a city in 1901.

“The Italian community came to my father to ask, ‘Can we have Lodi run?’” she said.

“So that is what I did, and it was so wonderful.”

Forte explained that back then, each candidate had to sell tickets, and the girl who sold the most, won the competition.

“It was so different than it is now,” she said. “I was supported by the Italian community and I sold the most tickets for the prize contest.

“I can’t remember exactly what the prizes were,  but for the Golden Jubilee there was a fantastic production about the history of Trail in the Cominco Arena, with two directors from Hollywood who came to help.”

After winning the title, Forte travelled to various events such as the Lilac Parade in Spokane; the opening of the Northport Bridge; and the Kelowna Regatta as part of “Lady of the Lake.”

One of her most memorable experiences was a paid train ride to Vancouver to participate in the Miss PNE contest.

Forte said that after she was crowned Miss Trail, she and the other four candidates participated in most events together.

“We really became close friends because we went everywhere together.

“It was a wonderful experience for all of us, not just myself.”

That wonderful experience continues into the current ambassador programme.

During the seven-month training period, this year’s seven candidates learned about public speaking, speech and resume writing, job interviewing skills and etiquette.

“Much of the training involves the process of speech writing and learning how to write, present and talk in front of a lot of people,” said Epp.

The evening roster includes a presentation of the top three speeches; an opening dance number; talent showcases; and an impromptu question period.

Additionally, each candidate was given $10, with a challenge to buy an outfit to showcase in a “frugal fashion show.”

The theme to the fashion show is under wraps, but will certainly be fun and high energy, said Epp.