Originally independent in crowning a Fall Foliage Festival Queen and connected with the ever popular fashion show, the Scholarship Pageant, to name Miss Northern Berkshire, Queen of the Fall Foliage Festival, soon affiliated with and followed the rules of the Miss America Pageant. The local Pageant became an official preliminary contest with the competition offering over $500 in scholarships.
Entrants, between 18 and 24 years of age, who lived in or attended school in the Northern Berkshire area, were sponsored in the Pageant by area business establishments, often jewelers, florists, hairdressers, clothing stores but also real estate agencies, restaurants and drug stores, depending upon the number of contestants which ranged from 10 to 22. In later years The Transcript conducted its own contest having readers vote for the all-time Miss Fall Foliage Queen with the honors going to 1960 Queen Cheryl Murphy.
The winner reigned over the week-long Fall Foliage Festival and then went to the next Miss Massachusetts Scholarship Pageant in Attleboro in July as the representative of Northern Berkshire. There, she competed for the opportunity to go on to Atlantic City as the State Representative in the Miss America Pageant, for example Dina Minardi the 1972 Miss Northern Berkshire was among the 10 semi-finalists in the Miss Massachusetts Pageant while in 1978 Rowena Humphrey, entered as Miss Northern Berkshire, was crowned Miss Massachusetts.
Some years, the Pageant took place at Drury High School; other years at North Adams State College Venable Hall auditorium. Past queens often participated and performed. They gave demonstrations of their talent portion of the competition. All of the traditional events were included with swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview divisions. Reflecting the national competition, first, second and third runners-up and a Miss Congeniality were selected.
Adapted from a story in Hoosac Trails, Volume XXI, Issue I (September 2011)