ALLIANCE — The 2018 Greater Alliance Carnation festival queen contestants gathered June 24 at Heggy’s Confectionery to familiarize themselves with what it means to be a Carnation Festival queen.

The young ladies competing for the title and their parents took part in an orientation, where they met the Queen Pageant Committee and learned about the journey they would be taking in their "Quest for the Crown."

During the event, the contestants learned the identity of their sponsors and how to properly introduce themselves. They begin with a short greeting, then state their name, contestant number and the name of their sponsor.

Sue Grove, chairwoman for nine years, welcomed each contestant and went over their schedule, detailing what the women will be doing this summer. Throughout orientation, Grove stressed that the pageant is not about outer beauty.

"Beauty comes from within you, it is how you act, how you represent yourself," Grove said.

This summer will be busy for the contestants. The events include a Carnation City tour, Summer Fest, the Princess Tea Party and all the Carnation Festival events that lead up to pageant night. The young women also will participate in eight hours of community service.

They received instructions about how to dress for each event.

Competing in the pageant is a way to give back, which is why Marian Davidson, contestant No. 16, sponsored by McCrea Manor, chose to run.

"I moved to Alliance about eight years ago, and ever since I got here, the city has just given so much to me, and I wanted to give back," Davidson said.

Many of the girls’ events are meant to build a bond among the contestants.

"We will have fun going to different places, but also being with each other," Grove said.

The pageant is meant to be a unique experience and a fun way to spend summer break. Dyamond Green, contestant No. 11, sponsored by Stillwell Seamless Spouting, decided to run for this reason.

"I’ve worked the pageant for the past couple years, and I have seen how the girls do it and how much fun they have while running," Green said.

The contestants received red polo shirts, their sashes and corsages. These items, as well as white pants, will be a way for community members to easily recognize the contestants. The outfit is a tradition for contestants during the weeks leading up to the pageant.

While at Heggy’s, the girls met the 2017 Carnation Queen and her court, who will be helping them through their journey. Queen Mallory McCreedy, First Attendant Alecia Vlaiku, Second Attendant Julianna Goshorn, Third Attendant Kayle Keyes-Peters and Miss Congeniality Jessie Baylor gave this year’s contestants advice and promised the young ladies that they will be there throughout their quest.

The Queen Pageant will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 5 in the Alliance High School auditorium. Tickets for the pageant can be purchased from the Alliance Chamber of Commerce, any of the 19 contestants or at the door the night of the pageant.