Crowned: Winner of this year’s Queen of the Bay pageant is Kayan Willoughy.
Barbara Betson

Talk about culture and pageantry.

More than a 100 people came out to see young Belizean beauty queens represent a variety of Belize’s culture at the annual Queen of the Bay pageant at St. Joseph’s Anglican Church in Cypress Hills on Aug. 19. The yearly contest brings together young women from the many different ethnic groups in the central American country to compete for the best show of beauty and culture. The display is a great show of the country’s diversity, said a former pageant winner who attended the event.

“What I love about the pageant is that you get to know about other backgrounds and how they do their cultures and their foods, and learn what their roots are all about,” said Dorla Lewis, the 2006 Belize Miss Teen winner.

As a participant and fan of pageantry, Lewis said she enjoys seeing the younger generation of women explore their identities through arts.

“I love seeing the girls expressing what they all do different in their cultures because it’s good to know the history — and the history of the native Indians and Garifuna,” said Lewis.

Five young women participated in the competition for title of Queen of the Bay. Kayan Willoughby, who represented the East Indian heritage, and someone who Lewis predicted would win took home the title.

“When I go to a pageant I observe all the contestants and have my own opinions, and most time when I guess on a winner, I’m always right,” she said.

Rachel Webster and Naya Gabroul were two of the other contestants who showcased the traditions of Mayan and Garifuna cultures of the country.

Last year’s winner, Jasyra Franklin presented the crown to Willoughby.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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