Miss Fountain Valley Pageant returns to runway

A lot has happened since Jessica Matthews was crowned Miss Fountain Valley in 2015.

For one, the miss is now a missus after the BYU student married Nick Austin; former Miss Fountain Valley Aimee Le is now in medical school; and the organization that presents the pageant finally has its nonprofit status.

The event has also become, officially, a biennial rather that yearly event. On March 4, a new Miss Fountain Valley will be named at the Saigon Performing Arts Center from a field of 10 contestants.

“It’s a great community-building event,” said Keeli Lysack, a former pageant winner who helped resurrect the contest in 2012.

For all its benefits, the Miss Fountain Valley pageant has had tough sledding over the years. Although this year’s winner will be the 29th to wear the crown, the event actually began in 1964. In the intervening 53 years, there have been gaps due to lack of contestants and sponsors, including a 20-year period from 1992 to 2012, and a failed effort to revive the pageant in 2009.

Lisack, who will celebrate the 40th anniversary of her title, says she has the pageant back on a solid footing with the two-year schedule, meaning the next Miss Fountain Valley will reign until 2019.

With the new time frame, she said, the volunteers have a chance to breathe and sponsors are less taxed.

“We give away a lot,” Lisack said of the $10,000 in scholarship money awarded. “It’s more than any other local pageant in the state. It’s a big…

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