03-16-2017 Watervliet’s Kaylee Chapin crowned Miss Blossomtime; Hartford’s Hunter Acker


THE CROWNING OF A QUEEN… Outgoing Miss Blossomtime Ashley Sipla from the community of Coloma crowned the 2017 Miss Blossomtime, Kaylee Chapin of Watervliet. Looking on is Miss Hartford Mariel Hallgren who was in the Top 5. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)


Watervliet’s Kaylee Chapin crowned

Miss Blossomtime

Hartford’s Hunter Ackerman crowned

Mr. Blossomtime

By Annette Christie

Tri-City royalty had a great showing at the annual two day Blossomtime contest this past Sunday and Monday.

Hartford’s Hunter Ackerman was named Mr. Blossomtime on Sunday night and Watervliet’s Kaylee Chapin was named Miss Blossomtime on Monday night.

Audience members filled the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center for the show “If it starts with a B… It must be Blossomtime.”  The ever-popular emcees Phil McDonald and Lainie Lu Von Behren entertained and filled space as the judges had a very difficult time selecting a court, due to the quality of the 57 youth participating in the competition.

2017 BLOSSOMTIME KING AND QUEEN… Miss Watervliet Kaylee Chapin and Mr. Hartford Hunter Ackerman were crowned Miss Blossom-time and Mr. Blossomtime respectively during the two-night pageant held this past weekend. The pair will reign over the 111th Blossomtime Festival. It is the second time that the Watervliet community has claimed Miss Blossomtime, and the third time that the Hartford community has claimed Mr. Blossomtime. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)


Hartford was the number one community for ticket sales followed by Stevensville and Coloma.

Coloma Community Pageant Organization Chairperson Doreen Hess was awarded the Bea Herman Chairman Award.

Hunter Ackerman of Hartford crowned Mr. Blossomtime

Thirty-two young men from all over Southwest Michigan were vying for the title as the 20th Mr. Blossomtime. The beginning of the contest was filled with several dance numbers to the hits of Michael Jackson.  At the end, it was Hunter Ackerman of Hartford who was crowned Mr. Blossomtime.

The 17-year-old is a senior attending Hartford High School.  He is also a middle college student attending Kalamazoo Community College. His future plans include transferring to Grand Valley State University or the University of Michigan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science or biology.  He hopes to become a dentist.

The son of Gary and Tamara Ackerman, he is also the Student Council Executive President and is on the National Honor Society.  He participates in baseball, basketball, jazz band, marching band, Quiz Bowl, and Science Olympiad.

The Top 10 question was that if they were to be here a year from now celebrating accomplishments, what would be the thing you are most proud of. Ackerman said he hopes the completion of his 13th year Capstone Project which will provide donated dental supplies for elementary students and dental hygiene instruction in the schools.

First runner-up was Dylan Catalano of Buchanan. The 17-year-old senior attends Buchanan High School.  He is the son of William and Kelly Catalano.

His future plans include attending James Madison College at Michigan State University. He will be seeking a degree in political theory and constitutional democracy.

In high school, he is involved in football, golf, Student Council, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and Spanish Club. He is the Editor of the Buck Bulletin and Vice President of the National Honor Society.

Second runner-up was Nicholas Case of St. Joseph.  The 17-year-old is a senior attending St. Joseph High School.  He is the son of Martin and Christie Case.

His future plans include attending Michigan State University to pursue a degree in psychology and American Sign Language.  He hopes to have a career as a psychiatrist.

Case is an academic mentor, a tutor and is on the honor roll.  He is also a member of the Latin Club and plays club soccer.

Selected as Mr. Nice Guy by his fellow contestants, was Jonathan Burton of Baroda.  The 18-year-old is a senior attending Lakeshore High School.  He is the son of Lloyd & Gloria Burton.

In high school he is involved in football and Key Club.

His future plans are to play football at the college level and to study writing and philosophy.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Ryan Tidey of Eau Claire/Sodus; Corey Hampton, Jr. of Stevensville; Duke Packer of Lawton; Julian Sheriff of Bridgman; Zachary Heater of Coloma; and Ryan Chang of Three Oaks/River Valley.

The swimwear competition this year was replaced with a modeling competition where the contestants for Mr. Blossomtime portrayed their favorite musician/band member.  The stage was graced with the presence of the likes of Elton John, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Steven Tyler, and many more.  Winners of that modeling award were Eli Damron of Stevensville, Jalen Spencer of Benton Harbor, and Ryan Tidey of Eau Claire/Sodus.

Kaylee Ann Chapin of Watervliet crowned Miss Blossomtime

Given all the glory to God and thankful for her community and family, Kaylee Ann Chapin won the Miss Blossomtime Pageant on Monday night.  She brought the title home to the community of Watervliet for only the second time in the history of Blossomtime. She is the 2017 Miss Watervliet.

Chapin, 18, is the daughter of Allen and Ginnette Chapin.  She is a senior attending Watervliet High School.  In school, she is active in cheerleading, dance team, and is a member of the Quiz Bowl Team.  She serves as the Class Co-President and the National Honor Society Vice President. She is also a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Council, Science Olympiad, and the Principal’s Committee.

Her future plans include attending Western Michigan University to eventually become a physical therapist.  She is involved with the Blue Roof Church outreach ministries and volunteers at Watervliet Hospital.

McKenna Smith of Bridgman was selected as first runner-up.  The 17-year-old senior attending Bridgman High School is the daughter of Karl & Jamie Smith.

Following high school, she plans to attend Calvin College to study Spanish and Chemistry and eventually dental school.  She hopes to travel to Spanish-speaking countries to do mission work.

She is involved in golf, basketball, Spanish Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, and Peer Mentoring.

Katelyn Boyer of Edwardsburg was selected as second runner-up.  She is the daughter of Timothy & Tamara Boyer.  The 17-year-old senior attends Edwardsburg High School.

Following high school, she plans to attend either St. Mary’s College or Grand Valley State University to study the medical field.  She is hoping for the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland.

She is involved in cheerleading, musicals, choir, and National Honor Society.

Miss Lawrence, Devin Gray, was chosen as Miss Congeniality by her other sister queens.  The 17-year-old senior attends Lawrence High School.

She plans to travel to China this summer to learn about the culture.  She will attend Lake Michigan College and Central Michigan University to study business.

She is involved in Student Council, Van Buren Technology Center Marketing & Entrepreneur Class, play productions, cross country, cheer, and softball.

For the Top 11 presentation, the house lights went up in the auditorium and the contestants filed in from the back eventually coming on stage.  Making the Top 10 were Libby Fernau, St. Joseph; Katelyn Boyer, Edwardsburg; Alissa Waite, Lawton; Addison Davies, Niles; Jurnee Agbowu, Benton Harbor; Noelle Kraus, Cassopolis; Mariel Hallgren, Hartford; Jordan Shindeldecker, Stevensville; McKenna Smith, Bridgman; Kaylee Chapin, Watervliet; and Madelynne Keller, Three Oaks/River Valley.  That was followed by a Top 5 reveal where the contestants were placed on stage but covered with a “Red Riding Hood” style cape hiding their identity until the reveal. Remaining in the Top 5 were Fernau, Boyer, Hallgren, Smith, and Chapin.

New this year was an opportunity for the public to help in sending their favorite of the 24 community queens to the Top 10 (11) of Miss Blossomtime.  Voters were able to cast their votes on the Blossomtime website.  McDonald said over 93,000 spoke as the voice for Southwest Michigan to place their favorite in the top.

The Good Luck Ad winner was Bridgman.

The People’s Choice Award based on memory board presentation was given to South Haven.

The Queen’s Legacy Scholarship was awarded to Paw Paw.

The Queen’s Sorority Scholarship was presented to Benton Harbor.

Miss Bangor was presented the Bob Braamse Community Service Award.

Showcase of Queens

 Held in conjunction with the Mr. Blossomtime Contest on Sunday night was the Showcase of Queens.  In it, the contestants for Miss Blossomtime competed in communications, modeling, and photography divisions.

For the communications portion, the ladies were divided into six different lip sync presentations.  The contestants were judged on creativity, props, content, costumes, and the ability to lip sync.  The group that performed “Please, Mr. Postman” by the Marvalettes won the communications portion which includes, Lauren Kimbler of Bangor, Holly Ward of Berrien Springs, Katelyn Boyer of Edwardsburg, and Libby Fernau of St. Joseph.

The other performances were “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes; “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and The Pips; “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean McKnight; “Be My Baby” by Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes; and “These Boots were Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra.

For the modeling portion, contestants modeled a costume depicting their community contest theme. Winners were Madelynne Keller of Three Oaks/River Valley (It’s Our Birthday); Jordan Shindeldecker of Stevensville (Blues Brothers); and Sareyah Quinn of Eau Claire/Sodus (Under the Big Top).

Photography awards based on the headshots in the program were awarded to South Haven, Edwardsburg, and Bridgman.

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