Mr. Niles-Brandywine earns spot in final 10 in Blossomtime competition

Published 8:20 am Monday, March 15, 2004

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
BENTON HARBOR -- Mr. Blossomtime Corey Nichols of Hartford's court will have something it's never had before in eight years: someone from Dowagiac.
Union High School senior Julian Feick, son of Janet Feick and contestant 7 of 45 young men from the 24 Blossomtime Festival communities, finished second runner-up Sunday night at Lake Michigan College's Mendel Center to Nichols and Dennis C. Brown Jr. of Benton Harbor.
Mr. Nice Guy, comparable to Miss Congeniality, is Alex Hill of Berrien Springs.
Julian's most memorable experience was traveling to Mexico with the social studies department. "I learned so much about our neighboring country, and it was a blast," he says.
His activities include indoor and outdoor soccer, Varsity Club, Humanities Club, tennis, two years of marching and concert band, Drama Club and Dogwood Fine Arts Festival.
Julian's hobbies include soccer, tennis, youth referee and coaching for AYSO, swimming and meeting new people. He plans to attend Hope College to play on the soccer team and to study engineering.
Rounding out the 10 Mr. Blossomtime finalists were John Beebe of Gobles, Duran Williams of Benton Harbor, Anthony Kessler of Niles/Brandywine, Derek Martin of Mattawan, Zachary Klug of St. Joseph and Jacob Reinhardt of Eau Claire/Sodus.
The finalists answered the question of who, living or dead, they would most like to share lunch in a variety of ways -- baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan, President Bush, grandparents who passed away before they were born, boxer Muhammad Ali, President Abraham Lincoln and Iowa wrestler Dan Gable.
Dowagiac was also represented by John Klapchuk.
Adam Smego of Cassopolis relinquished his crown as the seventh Mr. Blossomtime.
Also taking part in the coronation as a member of the 2003 Miss Blossomtime court was Miss Dowagiac Kristin Rose, second runner-up.
In the Showcase of Queens which shares the LMC Mainstage with Mr. Blossomtime, Miss Benton Harbor Brittney Brown, daughter of Anita Brown-Richardson and of Willie Mays, bannered across the board, receiving awards for photogenic, modeling and community spotlight, for which Miss Cassopolis Linaya Hass also won dressed as a ship's captain to promote her community's "jewel," Diamond Lake. Linaya is the daughter of Glenda and Dean Hass, and the granddaughter of Eleanor Moore of Dowagiac.
The third community spotlight shone on the 90-second advertisement made by Miss St. Joseph Ashley Shembarger. She and Brittney Brown both dressed as ruby red heel-clicking Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz."
Miss Mattawan Ashley Hinze and Miss Coloma Ashley Dolezan also received photogenic sashes. Four queens are named "Ashley" or "Ashlee" -- along with Miss Three Oaks/River Valley Ashlee Donkersloot -- second to five "Jessicas" as most popular name -- Miss Bridgman Jessica Rimpel, Miss South Haven Jessica Cunningham, Miss Niles/Brandywine Jessica Cornelius, Miss Edwardsburg Jessica Neagu and Miss Eau Claire/Sodus Jessica Lopez.
Miss Mattawan Ashley Hinze and Miss St. Joseph Ashley Shembarger also won for modeling.
Miss Blossomtime Keri Hazel of Bloomingdale, who was a photogenic winner in 2003, crowns her successor, the 72nd bud queen, tonight in a pageant that begins at 7 on the Mendel Center Mainstage.
Community queens also competing tonight with different judges include Miss Dowagiac Brittany WInters, Miss Gobles Joni Vosburg, Miss Baroda Elizabeth Weage, Miss Galien Emily Hein, Miss Watervliet Erin O'Hara, Miss Stevensville Whitney Rantz, Miss Bangor Sara Pilch, Miss New Buffalo Cindle Brewster, Miss Paw Paw Mindy Boothby, Miss Bloomingdale Amanda Black, Miss Buchanan Lindsay Colip and Miss Berrien Springs Lindsey Dospoy.
The three-hour program began with a big band dance number to "Puttin' on the Ritz."
The guys and gals shared center stage to model evening wear.
Next, the men modeled swimwear, flexing their muscles, tearing off T-shirts and toting an array of props, from beach toys to a metal detector.
The women finished up the competitions with the creative communications segment, for which Miss Mattawan Ashley Hinze, in a checkered skirt, sang about the joys of racing. Other queens created memorable costumes. Miss Three Oaks/River Valley Ashlee Donkersloot appeared inside a tree. Miss Bangor Sara Pilch dressed as a pickle.
Miss Dowagiac Brittany Winters, garbed as a ballerina and holding a flute and a book, extolled the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival.
Miss Niles-Brandywine Jessica Cornelius plugged the Rendezvous and the days of Fort St. Joseph which settled the community of Four Flags in 1755.
Miss Edwardsburg Jessica Neadu cast her spiel about seven lakes and Lunker's.
Pilch and Mark Hills, also of Bangor, sold the most program ads.