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December 17, 2021American Tent Life

Beauty pageants have come a long way in recent years. The newly crowned Miss Universe is a perfect example of the progress we’ve made. After her win, she pointed out that the competition is no longer about appearance. Instead, it’s about personality and platform. How refreshing and definitely something to keep in mind when you’re thinking about how to organize a beauty pageant. If you’re planning an outdoor pageant, you’ll also have to think about your venue or a tent, among many other considerations. Keep reading for more tips on how to conduct a beauty pageant. 


Keep in mind that a pageant is not about teaching little girls to play dress up or aspire to outdated ideals and instead give your pageant a purpose. For example, a pageant could be used to raise money for local charities, such as food pantries or humane societies. A pageant can give young women - and men - a platform to speak about issues that are important to them.


Now that you’ve established a purpose for your event, the next step in organizing a beauty pageant is to establish criteria for judging. Fortunately, the criteria have changed greatly over the years. Modern pageant criteria could include:

  • Leadership
  • Community service
  • Academic achievement


Organizing a Beauty Pageant

When organizing a beauty pageant, choosing a venue is an important part of planning. Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of time to reserve your venue. If you’re planning an outdoor pageant, keep in mind that weather conditions could be a factor so you’ll also need to consider renting or purchasing a tent. Look for a clear top tent with sidewall options to ensure that the show can go on even in inclement weather. To stay on budget, look for low-cost or even free locations, such as public parks or community centers. 


Now for the fun part! It’s time to choose a theme for the pageant. You could choose a seasonal theme, using fall colors in autumn, colorful florals in spring and summer, or holiday decor during the winter season. If you’re raising funds for a good cause, include graphics that illustrate the good works that the charities perform in the community. Be sure to give attendees an easy opportunity to make donations and information about how they can volunteer their time.


You can’t do it all alone! Finding the right sponsors will help ensure your pageant is a success. Look for sponsors who believe in your pageant’s purpose and also have good organizational skills. When planning big events, delegation is essential. Assign your sponsors specific tasks, such as venue planning, promotion, and contestant selection. Consider their strengths and interests when delegating tasks.


How to Organize a Beauty Pageant

You can’t have a competition without rules and beauty pageants are no different. Basic rules include the age of contestants. You may want to have separate age brackets and different rules for each group. Younger contestants shouldn’t be expected to articulate a full-blown platform, but they can still provide meaningful input. For example, if your goal is to raise awareness of environmental issues, younger contestants could talk about ways that they like to help the environment, including recycling or using less water. Older contestants should be expected to provide more elaborate explanations of why and how they are doing their part to save the planet. Other rules could include giving each contestant a time limit with the microphone to ensure that everyone has equal speaking time. 

Judges and Manpower

The judging staff has a big responsibility on the big competition day. Be sure to choose judges who believe in your pageant’s purpose and will be engaged throughout the competition. To make their jobs easier, provide them with very clear instructions and judging criteria. They should have scorecards for each contestant to help them determine the winner in an objective manner. For example, they can assign contestants a score of 1 to 10 based on factors such as:

  • Preparedness
  • Persuasiveness
  • Demonstrated service or dedication to a cause
  • Future goals

Other staff considerations include sound and lighting technicians, backstage assistants to help organize and prepare contestants, and additional staff to direct attendees and make sure everything runs smoothly and on time. You’ll also want to make sure you have staff to help with clean-up and takedown at the end of the event.


You’ve selected your venue, assembled your staff, chosen your judges, and recruited your contestants, but you can’t have a pageant without an audience! Start advertising your event well in advance to build awareness and anticipation. Social media is the most affordable and effective tool for event marketing. Encourage contestants and staff to share information about the pageant, including, time, date, and location. If you’re raising money for a specific charitable organization, ask them to share as well.


Planning a beauty pageant can be a daunting task, but buying or renting a tent for the event doesn’t have to be! Contact us today and we’ll help you get started!

Tony Ehrbar's headshot

Tony Ehrbar

Owner & CEO

Tony's entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the fabric of American Tent (an Inc 5000 company), shaped by his experience running a successful event venue & tent rental service. His recognition as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 is a testament to his impact & dedication to his community. As the Co-founder and CEO of Renegade Plastics, Tony is leading initiatives in the tent industry to integrate eco-friendly, recyclable materials. Contributing as a board member for the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) & the Green Bay Area Public Schools Foundation and being featured by Entrepreneur, Oracle, & Modern Weddings, Tony plays a pivotal role in enhancing the growth and success of the textile industry.

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