Words of wisdom, gleaned from years of life experiences, were freely shared and taken to heart at the Ms. Senior Mulberry Gardens Pageant 2019 held June 14 at the independent and assisted living community. “Look on the bright side,” “Do whatever you can possibly do,” “Stay active and exercise,” “Live in the present” and “Have gratitude” were among the snippets of advice the 13 contestants shared with the crowd.
Scot Haney, WFSB-TV personality and third-time pageant emcee, listened carefully and humored with tips, including using petroleum jelly to keep his skin looking youthful. His questions brought out stories of the women’s accomplishments such as playing the organ at Radio City Music Hall, helping to establish the Meriden Daffodil Festival, and writing a 666-page family history. Haney, a crowd favorite, brought out the best in each contestant, even crooning “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” with Carole Milano, who at one time headlined a production of “My Fair Lady.”
“Fly Me to the Moon” marked the 10th year of the pageant held at the assisted living, memory care and adult day community, located at 58 Mulberry St. The event, begun in 2010, was established to celebrate the vitality of the residents and members of the two Mulberry Gardens adult day centers.
When the pageantry and interviewing concluded, Milano, a participant in the Southington Adult Day Center program, was crowned with the winner’s tiara and draped with the 2019 satin sash. Milano is a well-known woman in town as the founder of the Southington Arts Council and yoga teacher for 36 years. Even after her husband Anthony came up to congratulate her, she expressed amazement that she was the winner. “I can’t believe this,” she said as she clasped her bouquet of white roses.
Other contestants and their titles were: Candide Sedlik (First Runner-Up); Trudy Main (Second Runner-Up); Carmen Charette (Most Charming); Lucille Carlucci (Most Graceful); Ola Coe (Nicest Hair); Arlene Horrigan (Most Elegant); Patricia Landry (Best Sense of Humor); Kathryn Olson (Most Sophisticated); Natalie Palazzolo (Ms. Congeniality), Theresa Prairie (Nicest Eyes); Eileen Paulick (Nicest Smile); and Rita Van Epps (Best Dressed).
This was the 10th anniversary of judging for Kathy Faber, of Kathy Faber Designs. Returning judges also included Kimberly Beaudoin, Mrs. USA Universal 2016 and Renee DiNino, iHeartMedia personality. Mara DeLuco, Ms. Junior Teen Plantsville and granddaughter of a Mulberry Gardens resident, greeted guests at the door. Sponsors included: Silver – Connecticut Pharmacy; Bronze – Kevin’s Building & Remodeling, Donald Spilka and Valley Flooring.
“This is the best event of the year,” Haney said, following the pageant. “These women are so worthy of acknowledgement. It’s nice to see they are still going strong.”
Mulberry Gardens of Southington, a member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services, is a not for profit assisted living, adult day and memory care community located at 58 Mulberry St. in Southington. For more information about Mulberry Gardens of Southington, visit http://mulberrygardens.org.