Heartland America may not be quite a narrow-minded and straight-laced as conservatives and the Religious Right would have us believe. Especially when it comes to a good cause. Here's an example from rural Tennessee.
Next Saturday Coker Creek Elementary School in Tellico Plains, Tennessee will be hosting a rather unconventional fundraiser. It will include familiar names in the community. The hope is to raise $1000 in order to send 27 of the school's sixth, seventh and eighth graders on a trip to the nation's capital next May.
The event is called a "Womanless Beauty Contest." In other words, a drag show, ala RuPaul.
"They will get to go to the White House, the Capitol, Mount Vernon, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, see all the monuments, meet with our congressmen and senators...
The problem was not every child had the $350 for the three-day trip and the school decided it was too important a project be de-railed, solely on that account.
"We want to make sure that everyone who wants to go can go," said Franklin. "It's the trip of a lifetime, but not everyone can afford it."
Officials from the school and parents got together for a brainstorming session.
"The idea for a Womanless Beauty Contest actually came from our parents. This will be men wearing dresses. We'll be doing their hair, makeup and nails and they'll be dressed completely as a woman. Their name and gender will change for one night."
So far the list of contestants include a candidate for mayor, one of the school officials, a local police chief and some parents. Franklin is still trying to round up more participants. Hair and makeup will be provided for free. She also says
"And if they can't find a dress, we can help them with that too."
Of course, it might take a lot of courage and some true community spirit. It might also take a good sense of balance. Falling off high heels can break a man's ankle.
The panel of judges will all female- of course- and donations will be accepted during the competition. There will also be a pie and cake auction, conducted by State Rep., R, John Forgety. As Principal Franklin says, "It's a good, fun event."
She also adds:
"So many of our students wouldn't have the opportunity to go on these trips without help from the community. Every year we'll do something different so by the time they leave our school, they will have been to three different places."
Hats off to Principal Jill Franklin, all the gussied-up contestants, and the pie and cake bakers. And most of all to the community for coming up with this fun idea in the first place.
We wish them the best of luck with the fundraising. Sounds like lots of fun!