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30 YEARS LATER: How has the Bakersfield Pageant changed?

They aren't just beauty and grace anymore!
The Crown.
Posted at 5:50 AM, Feb 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-01 08:50:40-05
  • It's almost 30 years of the Bakersfield Pageant- how has it kept up with the times?
  • 23ABC's Ava Kershner catches up the director who has been there the whole time, as well as the first Ms. Bakersfield ever.

“I didn't know, I didn't know much about pageants,” said Madison Garrett, the first Ms. Bakersfield. 

That’s Madison Garrett, but her friends call her Maddy.

And the pageant calls her the first Ms. Bakersfield they've ever had.

“The category is you don't have to be married, you can be beyond the age of 25, and you can be a single parent, a single mom so it's been amazing to represent that group,” said Garrett. 

Before that, if you were older than 25 you had to be married to compete.

But after 30 years, the pageant has gone through changes.

Gayle Tape, the director, has been there for all of them.

“How have you seen the pageant change from 30 years ago to now?” I ask.

“I think it is more real. When I started it was run as a preliminary. Now I crown them and teach them to serve. And that's the main difference and that's why I believe were a lot more real, a lot more powerful, and we make an impact,” said Tape, 

And serving the community is the main focus of these Bakersfield title holders.

The youngest of the bunch, Gabrielle Zaragoza, says that the year of being Miss Teen Bakersfield has taught her a lot.

“I think before maybe I wasn't because I was very immature,  and I would say coming into this year I learned so much maturity, so much grace and responsibility- that's three key things this pageant teaches you,” said Zaragoza.

This 30th anniversary of the pageant also has the second highest attendance since the first year.

With 39 contestants competing for the sash.

As for Maddy Garrett, it wasn't so much about the crown, but what it meant to others around her.

“I have a little niece, she's six years old, her name is Giovanna. And she loves princesses and tiaras, and so being able to represent that for her meant so much that I didn't even realize it would,” said Garrett. 


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