The Dixon Chamber of Commerce presented its 28th Annual Miss Merry Christmas Pageant, themed "The Gift," on Saturday, Nov. 10.

The girls started their day off with private interviews with the judges, Connie Cahill, Sara Rose and Jenniger Ingersoll. That portion of the competition accounted for 60% of the contestant's overall score.

Following the interviews and after the judges enjoyed a dinner by Heather Hodges of Homeplate Grill, the girls prepared for and began the evening portion of the competition. It started off with our national anthem, sang by Dixon's very own Jenna Bilyeu-Baker. Rhonda Maddox introduced the MC's for the evening, Lacey Rollins and Ashley Norman. The opening number starred our escorts for the night, all 55 contestants and our 2011 Christmas queens, Kylie Doyle, Skylar Maddox and Lauren Simpson.

The evening wear competition took place, which counted for 40% of the overall score. Escorting the Little Miss contestants was Trenton Hance, son of Landon and Kimberley Hance. Jase Shelton, son of Jason and Jackie Shelton, escorted the Junior Miss contestants and the Miss contestants were escorted by Chance Jones, son of Mark and Jamie Jones. The escorts wore tuxedos provided by Dixon Floral. Attendees agreed all the girls looked beautiful in their gowns.

Throughout the evening, the crowd enjoyed entertainment by Jenna Bilyeu-Baker and 2011 Jr. Miss Merry Christmas, Skylar Maddox.

The evening came to an end with a closing number and the crowning. Each category's contestants voted for the girl in their category they thought to be the friendliest for Miss Congeniality. Little Miss Congeniality was Heidi Akery, daughter of Heath and Kristy Akery. She won a big teddy bear from the Chamber. Jr. Miss Congeniality was Audrey Eckert, daughter of Jason and Darlene Eckert, and Miss Congeniality was Jerica Durham, daughter of Sherri Allen and Darrell Durham. They both received gift certificates from Niki Kelsay at Splitends Salon and Tanning.

The judges voted that morning before the interviews began on who they thought was the most photogenic in each division. Those votes were based on the photographs done by Jeannie Elseman of Jeannie's Portrat Design, LLC. Each girl received an 8x10 of their choice and that is the photo in which they were judged. The photogenic winner in each division won a free photo frame from By George Framing, who also provided our photo mattes. Little Miss Photogenic was Cherish Faircloth, daughter of Alicia Faircloth and Ty Cline. Jr. Miss Photogenic was Gracie Baker, daughter of Guy and Deborah Baker. Miss Photogenic was Abi Williford, daughter of Bobby and Dianne Williford.

The committee members also voted for the contestants in each division that they felt were well-behaved, listened well, treated the committee and fellow contestants with respect, were great sports and were an overall joy to be around throughout the entire pageant process. The Committee's Choice Award for Little Miss was Montgomery Keck, daughter of Aaron and Alison Keck. For Jr. Miss it was Brianna Bianco, daughter of Terri Bianco and Daryl Bianco, and for Miss it was Abi Williford.

In the Little Miss division (Kindergarten and 1st grade), fourth runner-up is Brooke Easterling, daughter of Jeramie and Shannon Easterling. Third runner-up is Rylenn Veasman, daughter of Jason and Amber Veasman. Second runner-up is Grace Young, daughter of Jeromy and Dianna Young. First runner-up is Kinsley Lipscomb, daughter of Shawn and Tammy Lipscomb, and the 2012 Little Miss Merry Christmas is Madison Euler, daughter of Mike and Molly Euler.

In the Jr. Miss division (middle school), fourthrunner-up is Audrey Eckert. Third runner-up is Brenna Barber, daughter of Adam and Jody St. Pierre and James Barber. Second runner-up is Tayler McKinnon, daughter of Tim and Joni McKinnon. First runner-up is Doria (Dorie) Kampeter, daughter of Doug and Debbie Kampeter, and the 2012 Jr. Miss Merry Christmas is Lydia Withers, daughter of Toby and Jennifer Withers.

In the Miss division (high school), fourth runner-up is Haley Simpson, daughter of Laura Bodkins and Danny Simpson. Third runner-up is Jerica Durham. Second runner-up is Brook Donaldson, daughter of Joshua and the late Amy Donaldson. First runner-up is Abi Williford and the 2012 Miss Merry Christmas is Cheyenne Keck, daughter of Aaron and Alison Keck.