Miss Blueberry 2011 is Shelby Dirrim

ARGOS — Seventeen young women lit up the stage of the Argos High school auditorium Saturday night at the Marshall County Miss Blueberry Festival 2011 pageant—but ultimately, one outstanding contestant took home the crown. Shelby Dirrim, of Bremen, was named the new festival queen, succeeding Miss Blueberry 2010, Shelly Ortiz.
“I’m still a little bit shocked—like, did they call the right number?” said Dirrim after the pageant. Clutching her bouquet of flowers and flushed with excitement, Dirrim added, “I’m really excited to represent the festival this way.”
As Miss Blueberry 2011, Dirrim will represent Marshall County over the next year, attending events and festivals in area communities, and will receive a $1,250 scholarship. Currently an IPFW sophomore, Dirrim competed in the pageant in 2010 as well, receiving a runner-up title. Now, as festival queen, she became the second member of her family to win the title—her older sister, Stasha Dirrim, was Miss Blueberry in 2006.
“We’re very excited for her, this is something that is very important to her,” said Dirrim’s mother Heather.
The pageant Saturday night opened with all the contestants performing a dance to the song, “Dynamite,” by Taio Cruz. They were joined by Ortiz and Blueberry Hank (Kristen Arriaga). Then, the girls showcased costumes they had created to represent their favorite childhood memories. For example, Kelli-Jo Stachurski wore fishing gear and pulled a large stuffed fish across the stage with a fishing pole, representing a childhood fishing memory. Some of the other contestants created costumes having to do with sports, volunteer activities, and sibling memories.
The contestants also competed in a formal wear category and answered on-stage questions such as, “What is the one thing in Marshall County that you would change?” and “Who should be Time magazine’s person of the year, and why?” Each of these two categories was worth 30 percent of their final evaluation, and a personal interview completed earlier in the day was worth 40 percent.
Ortiz entertained the audience with a rendition of “Remember Me” by Carrie Underwood as the judges decided on the top five contestants.
Out of the top five—Shelby Dirrim, Erin Kinney, Kendall Mason, Kelsey Strahla, and Brianna Trappe—the second runner up was Strahla ($500 scholarship) and the first runner up was Trappe ($750 scholarship). Trappe also received Miss Friendship 2011.
Ortiz commemorated the end of her reign with a speech, saying that being Miss Blueberry was “the best experience of my life.” Ortiz also showed a video of some of her highlights from the past year as festival queen. She thanked everyone who had helped her during the year, and said that she had gained some lifelong friendships.
Dirrim’s first major event as Miss Blueberry will be the Blueberry Festival parade on Labor Day weekend.