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The annual Ethel Bennett's Ms. New York Senior America pageant was held April 26 at Lindenhurst High School with Carle Place's own Marie Marano being named Ms. Congeniality. Marano entered the contest by filling out an entry form in a magazine and made it through all the contestant searches, an interview and audition process to be named one of the final 12 contestants from throughout New York State.

Marie Marano just minutes after receiving her 'Ms. Congeniality' award at this year's Ms. New York Senior Pageant.

The Ms. New York Senior America Pageant is open to women ages 60 years of age and older from throughout the state with a dozen competing for the crown. Contestants are judged on personal interview, gown presentation, philosophy and talent in order to crown a queen as well as four runners-up. The pageant's philosophy is "age of elegance," which, said Marano, is why she has no problem telling people she is 72 years old.

Marie, who sang Frank Sinatra's All of Me for the talent portion of the competition, has resided in Carle Place for the past 51 years. She is the widow of the late Anthony "Sonny" Marano, who served as president of the Carle Place Civic Association, chief of the Carle Place Fire Department and superintendent of the Carle Place Water District for 40 years.

Ms. New York Senior America is "an elegant entertainment extravaganza displaying the poise and talents of the contestants ... It is delightful entertainment for audiences of all ages, culminating in the crowning of [a] new queen," states the pageant website (http://newyorksenioramerica.org). "The Ms. New York Senior America Pageant ... celebrates women of achievement, age 60 and over who, with their talent, abilities and positive projection of aging, best exemplify what senior women can and do accomplish. We salute and honor senior women! Women who have reached the age of 60, with their knowledge and life experience, are the foundation of our society."

This year, Gail King of Dix Hills was crowned Ms. New York Senior and will represent the state in the national Ms. Senior America Pageant. During her reign, King will travel throughout the state and serve as a "role model of the dignity, maturity and inner beauty of all senior Americans."

As a former contestant, Marano is eligible to participate in performances held by the Ms. New York Senior America Group at various assisted living facilities, temples and community centers throughout the state. "I am very happy with my award. Although I didn't win the crown, being voted 'Ms. Congeniality,' to me, was the best crown of all," said Marano, who encourages all women to consider entering next year. "It was a wonderful experience and lots of fun."

Senior women interested in participating in next year's pageant should contact Marlene Schuss, director, at 761-7503 or MarleenSchuss@aol.com.


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