Fremont's Miss 1964 to pass on her crown
FREMONT -- Jane Turner has never forgotten that moment when she became a queen.
The year was 1964 and the town of Fremont was celebrating its bicentennial.
Turner was 16 at the time and figured she'd give it a shot when she heard Fremont planned to name a queen for the town's big birthday celebration.
"It was a wonderful time to grow up in Fremont," recalled the Fremont native whose family owned the Turner Mill and whose grandfather, Forrest Rand, was at one time the town's police chief.
Turner was one of 18 who competed for the coveted title of Fremont Queen at Ellis School.
It's been 50 years since she was crowned, and the now-66-year-old Turner still has the tiara, the pearls, the sash, the flower bouquet that's pressed in plastic wrap, and the news clipping from the July 26, 1964, edition of the New Hampshire Sunday News with the headline "Miss Jane Turner Reigns As Queen."
Turner now lives in Newton, but she still calls Fremont home and plans to return to crown a Miss Fremont on June 15 as part of the town's 250th anniversary celebration.
"I'm very excited," Turner said of her return for the pageant to be held at Ellis School for the first time since her crowning.
The pageant is one of many events being planned in June to mark Fremont's anniversary.
While the pageant is being held in conjunction with the celebration, organizers hope to make it an annual tradition for students in grades 8 through 12.
The 250th anniversary committee has given $1,000 to put toward a scholarship, and a Fremont resident donated another $1,000. The scholarship will be awarded to the winner and used for college education.
"I'd like to continue doing it because they really don't have many scholarships. I think it would be something nice to do as long as the kids want to participate," said pageant director Mary Wheaton-Pinder, who is organizing the pageant with help from her daughter, Jen Picone, and Miss Raymond pageant director Kathy Campbell and her daughter, Lauren Campbell.
This year's contestants are Katelyn Tarasuik, Amanda Arsenault, Megan Mission, Ashley Buchanon, Gabrielle Studley, Madison Burke, Tiffany King and Audrey Wood.
Wheaton-Pinder contacted Turner a few years ago and asked if she would be willing to participate in the pageant.
Turner was more than happy to help. Her many photographs and other memorabilia from the 200th anniversary celebration will be on display, including the long blue and white gown she wore at the time.
"I'm very excited that she's so willing to participate and she's going to lend her dress the day of the event," Wheaton-Pinder said. Turner had to wear three different dresses during the bicentennial event in '64 and recalled how she had to walk across the stage and then had to identify herself, her parents and provide some of her personal history.
"I think I got it because I could talk the most. I didn't have any problems with speaking and answering questions," she said with a laugh.