Buchanan’s Elizabeth Thornton crowned Miss Apple Festival
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Judges chose Elizabeth Thornton of Buchanan as Miss Apple Festival Queen on Thursday.
Thornton, a 17-year-old Buchanan High School junior, was chosen among 16 girls who entered the Miss Apple Festival Queen contest, which was held at the Niles High School auditorium.
She is the daughter of Mathew and Katherine Thornton, who live on 514 W. Fourth St., in Buchanan.
During the final, Thornton was asked what she would give someone who has everything.
The contest, which had American Heroes as its theme, was set against a backdrop of blue with balloons and red apples hanging from the roof above the stage.
All contestants, when dressed in their evening wear, walked between two young males dressed in fire fighter equipment to get onto the stage.
Thornton plans to attend a four-year university to major in communications or broadcasting after graduating from high school.
She also hopes to play softball at the university level.
After the crowning, Thornton said she is looking forward to meet other people in Niles and take part in volunteer work here as part of her Queen responsibilities.
At Thursday's beauty contest, which is her first, Thornton wore a black and blue dress with an irridescent shimmer to it.
First runner-up was Brittany Harrington, also from Buchanan.
The 18-year-old Buchanan High School senior, who plans to study marketing and advertising, is the daughter of John and Carrie Harrington. They live on Bertrand Road in Niles.
Her question during the final was "if you could go back in time and photograph an event, what would it be and why?"
Harrington, who has been a Junior Miss Apple Festival top-five finalist in the past, said she would go back and spend time with her grandmother because she was a "great role model."
Second runner up was Rikki Kaup, who is currently a junior at Southwestern Michigan College.
Kaup, who is 21 years old, wore a blue evening dress at the contest.
She is the daughter of Rich and Linda Kaup.
Kaup plans to teach elementary special education in the Michiana area after graduating from college.
Although Kaup has never entered a beauty contest before, her aunt was first runner-up in the Miss Buchanan of 1972.
The reason she chose to participate in the Miss Apple Festival Queen contest of 2003: "I've always been known as an athlete and tomboy. I decided to step outside my boundaries, meet new people and try something new and exciting."
Chelsea Ghatoaura was chosen as Miss Congeniality.
She was the third contestant from Buchanan who won a title at the contest.
Chelsea is the daughter of Carole and Tom Saladin, who live in Buchanan.
The 16-year-old Buchanan High School junior, was surprised to be chosen, but looking forward to the year ahead of her.
After graduating from high school, Ghatoaura plans to attend a 4-year university and major in journalism or broadcasting.
She has also been a Jr. Miss Apple Festival top-five finalist in the past.
Whitney Spain, a 13-year-old Ring Lardner Middle School student, won the Junior Miss Apple Festival contest.
She won the contest in a field of 31 contestants.
Spain, who plans to go to college and get a degree in writing, is the daughter of Tom and Vicki Spain.
First runner-up was Jennifer Frayer, an Edwardsburg Middle School student.
The 13-year-old, who was a 2003 Cass County Fair Queen top-10, enjoys cheer leading and track at school.
She is the daughter of Russ and Cindy Frayer.
Cousins and sisters, as well as previous involvement in beauty contests, made her decide to join the Junior Miss Apple Festival.
Angel Brown, a freshman at Niles Senior High School, was chosen as Junior Miss Congeniality.
Brown, who is 15 years old, is the daughter of John and Lisa Lidecker.