Let me be clear: being asked to judge pageants or any kind of competition is never easy. Anyone that has the confidence to get up on stage and show us what they've got is a winner in my book.

When I got inboxed to be a judge for the Miss Apple Peach pageant, I thought the coordinator, Stacy Clougherty, may have had the wrong person. Now, I have judged a few of these over my years in the radio business, but this one was tough.

For those of you not familiar with this pageant, it coincides with the annual Apple Peach festival in early September and the winner holds the crown for the entire year. The winner represents the town in many local affairs and gets to advocate for their platform in the community for the year.

Like any pageant, most of the contestants would be nervous. Well, the contestants for Miss Apple Peach 2019 didn't show it at all. Each contestant walked out on stage and truly shined. It was tough; all the girls truly understood what it took to not only be themselves but to show us how passionate they were for their town.

It was tough but myself, along with two other judges, crowned the new Miss Apple Peach.

Victoria (Tori) Kalisz, senior at Fairhaven High School, was our winner. She was previously Junior Miss Apple Peach in 2015.

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It should be noted that Victoria competed against some amazing girls including Taylor Gall, Caitlyn Tavares and Audra Saucier – all students at Fairhaven High.

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Here are all the awards that were handed out.

  • Winner: Tori Kalisz
  • 1st runner-up: Caitlyn Tavares
  • Miss Photogenic: Audra Saucier
  • Miss Congeniality: Caitlyn Tavares
  • People’s Choice: Audra Saucier

I was also lucky enough to see some amazing local young dancers from Off Broadway School of Dance, along with meeting the current Miss New Bedford's Outstanding Teen, Juliette Simmons.

I know you are curious as to who the other judges were so here they are: Deven Robitaille from SouthCoast Chamber, Wendy Joblon from Folia in Dartmouth, and myself. Here we are with the winner.

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In case you didn't know, this was the 40th year of Miss Apple Peach. It almost didn't happen but thanks to the hard work and coordination of Stacy Clougherty it all came together.

They are hoping to grow the pageant next year and would love to hear from anyone who may be interested in being a contestant or a sponsor.

You can email Stacy directly or visit the Miss Apple Peach Facebook page.