WEST PITTSTON — The Garden Village is about the be overrun with youngsters looking to become the next Little Miss Cherry Blossom of the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival.
A total of seven participants will compete for the annual title at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. Young ladies between 5 and 8 from the Greater Pittston area will be competing on talent, stage presence, interview and overall participation. The contestants will be judge by qualified judges that will then pick winners.
Katherine Potter, 8, of West Wyoming, was crowned Little Miss Cherry Blossom at last year’s event. First runner up was 8-year-old Ashlyn Loyak of Pittston Township, second runner up was 8-year-old Makayla Kazoun, and third runner up was 8-year-old Ericka Rosengrant.
This year’s participants will ride in the noon parade prior to the event. Contestants are as follows:
Nina Valenti, 6, is the daughter of Mike and Mara Valenti, Wyoming, and a big sister to Julia. She is a member of the kindergarten class at Good Shepherd Academy.
Nina is active in ballet, tap and gymnastics. She is also a student at the Christine Leandri Music Studio.
Madeline DeSanto, 5, is from Exeter. She attends kindergarten at JFK Elementary where she enjoys learning to read, music class, art, and recess with her friends. She is involved in dance and currently takes both hip-hop and tap classes once a week.
Madeline plays basketball and T-ball. She is very energetic, thoughtful and smart, and loves to be outside. Some of her favorite activities include swimming, painting and drawing. She loves playing and helping with her younger brother, Matthew.
Abby Grace, 5, is in kindergarten at Montgomery Avenue Elementary. She is a very bright little girl who loves spelling, math and reading.
At the Greater Pittston YMCA, she takes classes in gymnastics, swimming, Zumba and soccer. Her real passion is dance. She takes tap and ballet classes with Julie Ardito. She is currently preparing for her fourth ballet recital. She also takes ballet dancing at Ballroom Run with Shauna Baldino, where is preparing for her second recital in ballroom dance.
This year, Abby will have a solo.
Gianna Albright is a fun-loving, energetic young lady whose hobbies include dance, gymnastics, karate, guitar and cheerleading. In her down time, she enjoys bubble baths and long walks at the park with her dog, Niko.
Mia Bovani, 5, is the daughter of Dante Bovani and Laura Dennis, West Pittston. She has a brother, Dante, 14.
Mia attends Wyoming Area Catholic School and is in kindergarten with Mrs. Barney. Mia likes singing, dancing and playing sports. This spring, she will be playing on the Argo’s T-ball team.
Shelby Regina Gavin
Shelby Regina Gavin, 5, is a student at JFK Elementary. She is at the Daisy level in Girl Scouts. She recently started soccer and will play T-ball this spring.
Shelby loves to sing and dance. She also loves to color, draw and do anything artistic.
Sara Pealer, 5, is a resident of West Wyoming and is in second grade at Tenth Street Elementary. She currently lives with her mom and two sisters, Lydia, 12, and Gwyn, 6.
Sara has two pets: a gecko named Elvis Presley, and a cat named Esmeralda. Sara enjoys sports and the arts. Her favorite sport is soccer and plays on the Forty Fort Pioneers and the Back Mountain Attack. She hopes to play in the World Cup one day.
Outside of soccer, Sara loves to draw, watch movies, play games and practice gymnastics or dance with her family and friends. Recently, she joined the Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre. Every Monday, Sara learns ballet, jazz and tap dance. Her favorite is jazz.
Sara is full of positive energy and always has a big appetite. Her favorite food, besides candy, are mashed potatoes and lasagna.
Ava Swiderski, 8, from Pittston, is a second grade student at the Pittston Area Intermediate Center. She has a brother, Jack, and a sister, Sophia.
Ava is active in chorus, kung fu, and soccer. Most of all, Ava loves gymnastics, whether it is at Shooting Starz Gymnastics in Wilkes-Barre or tumbling in the yard — Ava is always on the move.
Isabella Farrell, 6, is a kindergarten student at Tenth Street Elementary. She loves cats and will be getting her very own this summer.
Isabella has one older sister named Taylor. Isabella plays soccer for the Greater Pittston Stoners and will play baseball again this year for the Wyoming/West Wyoming Little League. She has recently participated in the talent show at Tenth Street Elementary. She is also planning to take dance this year. She is very excited to be part of the Little Miss Cherry Blossom Contest.
Emily Dannert will turn 6 on May 30. She is in kindergarten in the Wyoming Area School District. She has dirty blonde hair with hazel eyes.
Emily likes to smile and laugh all the time. She loves to teas with family and friends. She also loves to play soccer, bike, playground and sing. This spring she will play soccer. She loves to help people with her parents and Uncle Frank. She loves listening to the song “Frozen.”
Francene Graham, 8, is the daughter of Maribeth and Brian Graham. She enjoys gymnastics and she will be performing gymnastics for her talent at the festival.
Apollonia Bruno, 7, is the daughter of Tony and Danielle Bruno, West Pittston and a first grade student at Wyoming Seminary. She is a student of dance at Romar, where she studies ballet, tap and jazz.
She plays the piano and recently performed at the Kirby Center. In her free time, she likes to do gymnastics, play with Barbies, swim, play baseball, tell jokes, cook in the kitchen with her mom, and spend time with her grandparents. When she grows up she wants to be an actress. She likes to watch Food Network and the Disney Channel.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick