On the heels of the parade to celebrate our children, is an event that will raise funds to assist children and women in need. The pageant showcasing our cultural heritage will be held this Saturday at the Bliss Center for the performing arts. Seven delegates will showcase their African heritage as they compete for the title as Miss African Queen 2013. It’s a pageant filled with cultural expression, history, poise and elegance. It’s the fifth edition done by the group, Concerned Belizean Women, and it serves as a platform for a fundraising event. And today News Five caught up with the delegates as they gave us a preview of what the general public can expect when they attend the show.

Karen Vernon, Member, Concerned Belizean Women

Karen Vernon

“This is our fifth annual Miss African Queen, this idea came about because a group of women came together; we call ourselves Concerned Belizean Women and we do fundraising to assist children and women in need, half-way houses, school feeding programs and the like. So we have two major fundraising efforts for the year, Miss African Queen being one and then Little Miss Independence Junior in September.”

Irice Reyes, Contestant, Miss African Queen 2013

“My name is Irice Reyes, I am twenty-one years old and I represent the wonderful nation of Niger, West Africa.”

Rasheeda Hunter

Rasheeda Hunter, Contestant, Miss African Queen 2013

“Hi I am Rasheeda Hunter, I am nineteen years old and I am representing the country of Nigeria.”

Whitney Swift, Contestant, Miss African Queen 2013

“Greetings, I am contestant number three, Whitney Swift, representing the beautiful country of Gambia. Come out tomorrow night for a night full of surprises and entertainment.”

Whitney Swift

Sharon Wade, Contestant, Miss African Queen 2013

“Sharon Wade, representing South Africa.”

Coretta Augustine Apolonio

Coretta Augustine Apolonio, Contestant, Miss African Queen 2013

“Hi I am contestant number five, Misses Coretta Augustine Apolonio. I am representing Zimbabwe. There is a saying in Africa that says the thicker you are the richer you are. So come and see me in all my glory.”

Jewelle Waight, Contestant, Miss African Queen 2013

“I am twenty-five year old Jewelle Waight. You should come out Saturday night to come to the pageant. It should be a night filed with excitement and a lot of drama.”

Tanish Diane Pitterson, Contestant, Miss African Queen 2013

Tanish Diane Pitterson

“I am Tanish Diane Pitterson. I am representing the beautiful country of Gabun.”

Karen Vernon

“Each contestant needs to do research because they each represent an African country and they have to say a bit about that in their introduction which is the first segment. The second segment is a talent segment and they need to represent a woman of African descent, Belizean international, whatever it may be—whether it is drama, music, dance, sing and that also needs research. They portray this to the audience so they also get an opportunity to learn about that person. The third segment is the visual poise competition where they come out in their African regalia; the head ties and the crowns and this very nice royal African outfit and they do a platform statement. And they have to talk about why they are proud to be a Belizean woman of African descent.”

Tickets are available at the Bliss Box Office for twenty dollars and ten dollars. The pageant starts at eight p.m. on Saturday.

Channel 5