It was an exciting evening on June 25 as residents of Nakusp came to the auditorium at the Nakusp Arena for the Ambassador Pageant, the final event before the crowning of the new ambassador. This is the first time in four years Nakusp has had an Ambassador Program.
Doors hadn’t even been open five minutes, but already the parking lot was filled and there was a serpentine line from the entrance of the auditorium to the doors of the arena. At the entrance of the auditorium a table was set up, featuring photos of past ambassadors and programs. Stepping into the auditorium, another table was set up, this one featuring a photo of each of the candidates as babies.
Along with residents of Nakusp, delegates of other Ambassador Programs were in attendance, from areas such as New Denver, Trail, Castlegar.
The evening started off with the Grand March. Each candidate walked up to the stage where she was introduced, wearing a sash with the name of the local business who sponsored her. The candidates this year were Olivia Mang, Indica Phillipson, Mackenzie Carter, Kennedy Pazurik, and Sydney Bone.
While only one of the candidates would be named ambassador, they formed a bond of friendship that will last a lifetime.
“I wish we could all get crowned,” said Bone. “I love them all, and I wouldn’t want to be in this with anyone else. They’re wonderful.”
After the introduction of the candidates, the speeches and entertainment took place. This year the speeches and entertainment alternated. One candidate would come out and do her speech, while the following candidate would perform some form of entertainment. Speeches had to be memorized and be between one and a half to two minutes in length. Half of them were in the first part of the pageant, the other half in the second part.
Mang was first on the stage, and gave a speech on how to give a speech, which was very funny. It also gave Mang the opportunity to show off her Japanese.
Phillipson followed, singing “Love Story” by Taylor Swift. She started off a little nervous, but gained confidence as she continued to sing.
After the first half of the speeches and entertainment, former ambassadors were introduced, along with the visiting delegates, which gave the Nakusp candidates time to prepare for the group entertainment — an African dance choreographed by Nikki Cole. Local drumming group Boombasa performed while they danced.
After a brief intermission, the candidates were back, with a tribute to their sponsors. Each girl modelled an outfit representing their sponsor, which got a lot of laughs and cheers from the audience. Mackenzie Carter, sponsored by Arrow Lakes News, dressedall in black and came out holding a copy of the paper and a camera. As she walked down the stage, she pretended to take photos of the audience.
After the last speeches were given and the final walk was completed, the awards were given out.
Sydney Bone took home the congeniality award, which was decided by the candidates. She also took home the award for best speech, most improved, and shared the committee pride award with Kennedy Pazurik. Olivia Mang took home the entertainment award for her bass rendition of “Sir Duke”, by Stevie Wonder.
Following the awards was the moment everyone was waiting for: the crowning of the second and first ambassadors.
Kennedy Pazurik was named second ambassador. She is now part of her family’s ambassador legacy. Her mother, two aunts, and her grandmother all took part in the program.
“I was shocked, I was completely surprised, and then it hit me that it was me and I was like ‘Oh my God’,” she said. “It’s definitely exciting, and [I’m] really happy.”
As the candidates waited to hear which of them would be Nakusp’s newest ambassador, they held hands in solidarity.
Then, the winner was announced: Sydney Bone.
“My heart dropped, and then lifted, and then dropped,” she said. “I couldn’t breathe.”
Bone feels very excited to be able to represent Nakusp, and looks forward to doing so to the best of her abilities.
She said the program really helped her get over a lot of obstacles.
“I get panicky, and I was so afraid to go out, and now to get over my anxiety in this program, and to get up and actually do it is the best feeling in the entire world.”