- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - If Vicksburg Convention Center could harness Jaynie Fedell’s energy and passion about the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, it could single-handedly light up the stage for the entire three-days of the event.

Thursday will mark the 11th production of the teen pageant, and Fedell has been there from the beginning.

The first year of the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, Fedell said she had just finished helping with the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

“We just finished working the Miss Pageant, and a week later we had to work our tails off on the teen pageant,” she said, referring to herself, Pat Hopson, Kathy Ricks, Kathryn Resio, Tony Turner and Candy Derivaux.

From its conception, Fedell said the sister pageant to the Miss America organization has grown, and more than 10 girls from the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant have gone on to compete in the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

“I love that the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant is a feeder pageant into the Miss Mississippi Pageant. It makes me proud to see my teens over the years move on,” she said.

For the past seven years, Fedell has served as the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant executive producer, which includes selecting the theme for the shows.

“I come up with a concept sometimes three or four years in advance. Then I think about it, research the songs and work on the budget,” she said.

Fedell said she then begins building a show around her concepts starting with the music.

“We start off slowly, building the show, usually in July or August, but after the first of the year we go full force,” she said.

Those working hand-in-hand with Fedell include Renea Foley, Taylor Thomas, Ginger Parke, Stephanie Lloyd, Jordan Amborn, Smokey Kelly and her own daughter, Vera Anne Fedell, she said.

Along with working with amazing people, Fedell said, she has continued her involvement because of the impact the pageant has made on the teen contestants.

“It feels good to be part of something that makes a difference in the girl’s lives, and it is amazing to see how strong these young girls are,” she said.

From the time Fedell moved to Vicksburg with her family in 1980, she has been in some way a part of the local pageant family, from babysitting for people who were involved with the pageant to working behind the scenes after joining the Jaycees, the group that originally ran the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

“I have loved every minute of it because I always had a dream of working on stage,” Fedell said.

“Jaynie has a passion for the production side of the show and has done a wonderful job,” said Winky Freeman, the executive director for the Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen Pageant.

“She gets a vision and works it out in an innovative style,” Freeman said.

Festivities for the teen pageant began Monday.

Autograph signings are scheduled from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the Outlets at Vicksburg and from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday along downtown Washington Street.

Preliminary competitions are scheduled for Thursday and Friday night at the Vicksburg Auditorium. The final night of competition and crowning will be held Saturday.

Nightly competitions begin at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25 for the preliminaries and $40 for the final night.

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Information from: The Vicksburg Post, http://www.vicksburgpost.com

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