A Winter Royalty Pageant, a Christmas parade, and contract renewal for economic development with the city were among subjects discussed at the Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday night.

The deadline for the Winter Royalty pageant is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26.  The chamber office will be open until then to accommodate last minute entries, said Jill Bonnema, CEO.

Addressing the board, Bonnema said there are about 40 entries confirmed and she anticipates more prior to deadline. She also said this is a pageant where all girls get a crown. In addition, the winners also go home with a sash and bragging rights.

There was also discussion concerning one division that allows women 18 and older to enter. Chamber members talked about the event being a perfect first-time pageant for "ladies staying at home rather than going to deer camp." Entrants are asked to dress in a winter outfit rather than typical pageant gowns.

"It would also be good for the pageant moms," said Debbie Townsend, chamber president. "Maybe they always wanted to be in a pageant but didn’t have the opportunity. This gives them an opportunity."

The basic entry fee is $35. It will be Nov. 12 at the Vilonia Middle School. An open pageant, there are 11 divisions:

Baby Miss 0-11 months; Toddler Miss 12 months-23 months; Darling Miss 2 years; Tiny Miss 3-4;  Petite Miss 5-6; Little Miss 7-8; Junior Miss 9-10; Preteen Miss 11-12; Teen Miss 13-15; Miss 16-18 and Ms. 19+ Married.

The funds from the project will go toward scholarship money and chamber projects such as purchasing signage to be installed at the entrants to the city.

For more information, contact Bonnema at 501-449-1312 or go to www.viloniapageants.weebly.com.

Another matter, chamber members will assist with the Vilonia Christmas parade by handling the publicity and contacting businesses, who are members, and encouraging them to participate. As well, a handful of members will serve on a planning and staging committee. The time and date for the parade was set for 5 p.m., Dec. 17. A committee will meet at 11 a.m., Nov. 3, at Big Ben’s to work on finalizing the details including setting a theme and choosing a parade marshal.  

In other business:

—It was said there is about $9,719 in the sign account. The chamber has been working for a couple of years to raise money to place signs at the entrances to the city. Officials said it will cost from $6,000 to $8,000 per sign. It was also said there is more than $12,000 in the chamber’s operating fund.

—It was announced the chamber has contracted with the magazine 501 Life for publishing a new 2012 directory. Townsend said she hopes to be able to unveil the directory at the chamber’s annual banquet generally held in February. There was also a brief discussion concerning the banquet date and guest speaker, however, final plans were not announced. 

—A proposed slate of officers will be presented at the November meeting. Currently, nominations are being accepted.

—The chamber will ask the city to renew their contract for economic development at a cost of $2,000 for 2012—$1,000 less than paid in 2011. Townsend talked about the chamber’s growth and plans to be self-sustaining. Members voted unanimously for a "3-year weaning period," from asking for city assistance with a $1,000 reduction each year.