The Great Americana Banana Split Celebration is August 23-25, 2019 in Downtown Latrobe, PA — where the banana split was invented 115 years ago!

Our First Banana Split Princess Pageant

Our celebration may be in August but there are a few activities leading up to the full weekend event. The first being the Banana Split Princess Pageant on June 2 at 4pm, where the 2019 Banana Split Princess will be named. The past few weeks have been filled with preparations to iron out details about the application process, sponsorships, pageant program, and criteria for making the final decision. This is the first year for the pageant and therefore all new for many of us.

One person the pageant experience isn’t new to is Georgia Teppert, assistant superintendent at Greater Latrobe School District, whose daughter, Arielle, has been participating in events like these for seven years and is the current reigning National American Miss Pennsylvania Preteen 2018-19. It is her wealth of knowledge that makes Georgia great for ensuring every detail of the 2019 Banana Split Princess selection process is taken care of.

Girls ages 9-11 who live in Latrobe, Ligonier, or Derry are welcome to participate. They can pick up an application packet from their school or have their parents download and print one from the celebration website. Each girl will answer a few questions about themselves, write a 100 word essay explaining why she wants to be the princess, and submit a headshot before the deadline on April 15.

There is no application fee to participate, but there are some mandatory meetings for participants to attend:
Friday, April 26: Informational meeting and first rehearsal (5-7pm)
Wednesday, May 15: Second rehearsal (5-7pm)
Sunday, June 2: Pageant and interview day (report at 10am, pageant at 4pm)

Each of the practices and the pageant itself will be in the cafetorium of Latrobe Elementary School. That’s the new school at 20 Cedar Street Latrobe, PA 15650. We’re thankful to the Greater Latrobe School District for allowing us to use this great space and to share it with the community.

Girls will be part of an opening routine, give a short introduction of themselves, and participate in a formal wear competition. They will have their first chance to meet the judges earlier in the day in a round-robin interview, another component of the scoring criteria where judges want to hear what makes each girl unique. Judges will be looking for each girl’s natural beauty to shine through.

While the final scores are being tabulated, the audience will hear what it means to be the Banana Split Princess from Piper Anke, the young lady who has spent the last year in the role. Piper is from Derry and attends Valley School of Ligonier. She was very active at the 2018 celebration and attended many events as an ambassador for Latrobe and the banana split.

Some of the events the incoming princess will attend after being crowned include the annual Fred Rogers Family Day, riding in the chamber’s 4th of July parade float, and, of course, the Banana Split Celebration. Briana Tomack, President of the Greater Latrobe - Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce, “hopes to provide the Banana Split Princess opportunities to learn about the local business community.” Expect to see the princess out and about at ribbon cuttings, dinners, and other events throughout Westmoreland county.

We’re also looking for some volunteer help to assist with stage setup and decorating the night before the pageant as well as a couple hands during the event for a couple tasks. If you’re interested in volunteering, or have any questions about the pageant, or how to apply email princess@bananasplitfest.com or call 724-537-2671 and select the Banana Split Celebration line.

🍌 Isaac