Girls and young women showed off their talents — everything from math to crochet to dancing — on Sunday in the Miss Juneteenth pageant in Longview.

Six young women in different age categories left with crowns and will take part in Saturday’s Juneteenth parade.

Sunday’s pageant was at Motion Church on Judson Road.

Juneteenth is a state holiday that celebrates June 19, 1865, which is the day it was announced in Texas that slavery had ended. A parade and celebration are planned Saturday at Broughton Recreation Center.

Pageant Director Danita Means said because of the pandemic, she was not sure if the pageant would happen. Once the city started opening events back up, she said she had about three weeks to plan.

“This pageant is designed for motivation,” she said. “(The contestants) love it. A lot of them return. I have people who have brought their children to me who were Miss Juneteenth under me.”

The ages of the contestants ranged from 10 months through college. There also was a Tiny Mr. Juneteenth and Lil Mr. Juneteenth. There is no cost for contestants to enter.

“I accept all. The only thing I don’t accept is drama,” Means said. “If you’re coming with drama, I will dismiss you, but outside of that, everybody is welcome. We want everybody to feel that they’re somebody.”

She said the contest helps young people with their self-esteem, adding that it’s a positive event for the community.

Means said she enjoyed some of the unique talents on display Sunday, such as the young woman who did a painting on stage and the contestant who recited a motivational poem she wrote.

The contestants get prizes that are purchased with ticket sales. The girls received dolls, bikes, purses and other gifts.

“I just want people to know this is a free event, it’s a good event, it’s something that’s positive,” Means said.

Sunday’s pageant winners are:

Mini Miss Juneteenth: Paris Johnson

Tiny Miss Juneteenth: Ky’lee Grace Johnson

Lil Miss Juneteenth: Neema Barr-Pruitt

Jr. Miss Juneteenth: Za Haria Horne

Miss Juneteenth: Jenayah Watson

Miss Juneteenth Elite: Tarah Lister

Recommended for You

Kristen is the News-Journal's education reporter. A Longview native, she got a journalism degree and a graduate certificate at Texas Tech University. She covers a variety of issues, including school finance, board meetings and happenings at local schools.