In the past, the Winter Wonderland team had experienced a constant loss in volunteers, but in 2019, everything changed, when Juanita Wilson, Zen Stafford and Gordon’s Bay Tourism, as well as Helderberg Happening came on board, both local initiatives, and suddenly, a fresh new wind blew through the whole team.
In merely seven weeks, Ms Wilson and her team lined up a professional Miss Winter Wonderland beauty pageant, to be held during the second Friday of the Gordon’s Bay Winter Wonderland Festival.
Preparation meetings were held at the local Sunset Bay Spur Steak Ranch. Being the main sponsor of the competition, the Spur management and staff did everything to accommodate the over 50 contestants and their guardians, moms, dads, grandmothers and of course, the pageant team.
Three categories of contestants were chosen and trained: juniors, girls aged 7 to 13, seniors, girls between 14 and 18, as well as the boys’ category, Mister Winter Wonderland.
When the evening of June 21 arrived, dark clouds started accumulating over Gordon’s Bay’s sky. Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato, who was supposed to hold the opening speech for the second Winter Wonderland weekend, cancelled his visit due to the severity of the storm.
But Gordon’s Bay wouldn’t have been Gordon’s Bay if it wouldn’t come up with a rescue plan.
At 8pm, Councillor Johan Middleton held the opening speech. Winter Wonderland had recently been awarded an amount of R 250 000 worth of services by the City of Cape Town, and Mr Middleton remembered the development of the festival from its beginnings in 2011, when the Gordon’s Bay Business Forum, the local NPO dedicated to the development of the quaint little seaside town, started the first festival with some 8 000 visitors.
While the wind blew stronger and stronger at the outside and gusts did shake the tent, the contest started. Fifty-three contestants, presented by the ‘Singing Cook @ Rivendell’, Antonio de Silva-Swart, made two individual and very professional rounds, showing their modelling talents, beauty and individuality, accompanied by their cheering and clapping relatives and friends in the fully booked tent.
Even a live stream was set up by Helderberg Happening’s Frikkie Harmse and Hardus Steenkamp. Everybody that couldn’t get a seat in the tent was able to follow the event on YouTube.
What a hard choice it was for the five judges and their auditor, Anton Gerber from the Winter Wonderland Exco team.
Ms Wilson had collected various high value prizes from 25 local sponsors, more than enough to provide ‘lekker’ local rewards for the contest winners.
While the judges counted points and discussed winners, a quick raffle was held among the fans in the tent to raise funds for the 2020 contest.
At 10pm the winners were chosen by judges Michelle Chuma, Mr Middleton, Loretta Botha, Adriana Lehman and Antoni van Zyl, and announced by Antonio, the Singing Cook (who was already a show on his own, entertaining the guests with his Elvis performance).
Outside the tent, the storm was at a high with gale-force winds coming in from the seaside, closely monitored by the safety and security officers.
The 2019 Miss Winter Wonderland beauty pageant winners were Miss WW Senior: 1. Jordyn-Leigh Hack 2. Tiffany Duce 3. Leandre Botes – Miss WW Junior: 1. Tahnyke Otto 2. Jessica Darling 3. Zoe Malan – Mister Winter Wonderland: 1. Ashton Jaden 2. Cornell Lourens 3. Zach le Roux. Cassidy Byneveldt was awarded as Miss Personality.
The weather gods showed their hearts and calmed down, so contestants, guardians, visitors and team members could safely make their way home.
The Winter Wonderland team and the Gordon’s Bay Business Forum wishes to express their sincere gratitude towards Juanita Wilson and her team for their extraordinary commitment as well as towards the Helderberg Happening’s team for their great support during the Winter Wonderland Festival.
New blood has brought and will bring the event to a complete new level in 2020 when the 10th Winter Wonderland Festival is taking place.
● Bee Ling does the Winter Wonderland Festival stall management and social media marketing, and has contributed to Bolander in the past, regarding Gordon’s Bay Lions Club activities and projects.
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