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Posted: February 17, 2010 12:30 a.m.

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Cute contestants: Little Mr. and Miss Newton County 2009 were Mr. Austin Wilson and Miss Cali Smith. They will be guests of honor at this year's event.

The 49th annual Little Mr. and Miss Newton County Pageant will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Alcovy High School Auditorium. The Newton County Recreation Commission sponsors the annual community event and admission is free to the public.

Contestants between the ages of 3 and 5 are judged on walk-on, talent and a question and answer segment. Recreation Commission Marketing/Special Events Coordinator Carol Rooks said questions pertain to the interests and hobbies parents list for the child on his or her application.

"It might be about a pet or playing ball," she said.

This year’s pageant theme is "Ice Cream Dreams." Rooks said the contestants don’t have to gear talent toward the theme, she just selects one for the program and pageant decorations.

Contestants must be residents of Newton County and are taken on a first come, first serve basis with spots open for 10 girls and 10 boys. Rooks said while all the girl positions are filled, only eight boys are competing this year.

Special Guests are Little Mr. and Miss Newton County 2009 — Miss Cali Smith and Mr. Austin Wilson. Ernie Smith will serve as master of ceremonies. Smith works for the Newton County Geographic Information System department.

"He has been involved in theater — well over 60 plays — and works really well with the children," Rooks said.

Smith has served as master of ceremonies for seven years.

Rooks said the pageant drew about 300 guests last year.

"With the weather being beautiful, we’ll probably have even more this year," she said.

Since next year will be the 50th anniversary of the pageant, Rooks said she will plan something extraordinary.

"I’ll work extra hard on it since it’s such a special year."

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