I Am Beautiful Pageants hosting Christmas pageant for children - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

I Am Beautiful Pageants hosting Christmas pageant for children with special needs

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Candice Burns watches as her four-year-old Preslee enjoys a day in the park with friends she made while participating in a special needs beauty pageant.

"It's a great way to show them they can be social and be on stage and be just like everyone else," said Candice Burns, pageant mom.

Can you tell me about your dress, what color is it? "Pink, and I had a flower bow and I wore a crown and a tiara," said Preslee Burns, pageant contestant.

 About 25 children participated in the first "I Am Beautiful Pageant this past summer. Director Bonnie Williams says her daughter is involved in pageants but after seeing a special needs child watch from the audience she wanted to create a pageant that put those children in the spotlight.

"There's not many activities here in the community for special needs kids and I think this is a great one to add," said Williams.

Pageant mom Brienna Rhodes was hesitant about entering her daughter into the pageant.

Eight-year-old Brenna has cerebral palsy but Rhodes says when Brenna stepped on stage she knew she made the right decision.

"When the lights hit her eyes she was like wow she just smiled and strutted her stuff more than I thought she would," said Brianna Rhodes, pageant mom."

With the holiday season beginning, Williams has organized a second pageant with a Christmas theme. She says sponsors are vital so everyone can participate.

"With the community's support we need to get funding so it can be a no fee event," said Williams.

Pageant moms say the "I Am Beautiful Pageant" is a welcoming place that is judgment free, and when their children step on stage they are accepted for who they are.

"Just their naturally beauty that shines through no matter what special needs that they have, they are little people too and they're beautiful inside and out," said Burns.

The pageant will be Saturday, December 1st at the Central High School Cafeteria. The deadline to sign up is this Friday.

For more information visit the pageant's Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/iAmBeautifulPageants?fref=ts

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