Miss Blossomtime 1936

Virginia May Pound of Grand Rapids is shown after being crowned Miss Blossomtime in 1936.

After a 2-year absence due to efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blossomtime Festival will return for the 2021-22 season with a full slate of community queen pageants.

The pageants in the South Haven area will begin Nov. 6 with Bloomingdale’s pageant. Bangor and South Haven’s pageants will each follow on Nov. 13.

“We are excited to announce the theme for Blossomtime, which will be saluting our ‘Past, Present and Future,’” said Anna Abdelnour, Blossomtime Festival president.

“This time-honored event is rich with history,” she went on to say regarding the Blossomtime Festival, Michigan’s oldest community festival, first starting in 1906 in Benton Harbor as a celebration of spring and Southwest Michigan’s agricultural heritage.

“One of the many components of its success and longevity is the outstanding volunteer base and community support it enjoys throughout Southwest Michigan,” Abdelnour said. “For 80-plus years Miss Blossomtime has been crowned, chosen from the many contestants awarded the honor of representing their individual communities and will compete for over $25,000 in scholarship funds. These pageants would not be possible without the commitment, dedication and mentorship of the chairmen and their committees.”

The community pageants that take place throughout Southwest Michigan starting in November will end in February, with each community queen and king then vying for the crown of Miss and Mr. Blossomtime in March at the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College’s main campus in Benton Harbor.

“The goal of the festival is to provide young adults in Southwest Michigan with mentoring opportunities, to learn about our rich agricultural history and to assist in making their educational dreams come true by providing scholarships,” Abdelnous said.

The first Miss Blossomtime, Catherine Burrell from Benton Harbor, was crowned in 1924. The first Mr. Blossomtime, Jake Belter, from the community of Stevensville, was crowned in 1997. The 88th and current Miss Blossomtime is Faith Kittleson from Berrien Springs while the 24th and current Mr. Blossomtime is Jeremiah Sterling of Benton Harbor

Teens interested in competing in the community competitions, can contact the Blossomtime Festival office at 269-982-8016 or email office@blossomtimefestival.org. To include youth that did not have the opportunity to compete in the 2020-21 season, the festival committee is expanding the age limit to 17-20 years old for the 2021-22 pageant season only.