I arrived in Hoopeston yesterday around 4:30 and met up with the other girls who drove in before meeting everyone else for dinner at Miss Hoopeston's house. The weather was terrible, and it poured all day and night. We enjoyed a home cooked meal under a giant tent to avoid the rain, but my hair was still a frizzy mess by the end of the day. I am very comfortable in my host family's home and have settled in quite nicely after unloading the never-ending suitcases and garment bags last night. Miss New York is also staying here, and if you didn't know any better, you'd think we were old friends.
This morning started at 6:45 when our chaperone picked us up. We enjoyed breakfast sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce followed by a short rehearsal of the opening number. I'm not as coordinated as I'd like to think, and after I asked the choreographer my third question she said, "You must be the violinist." Turns out...I am, and I'm not ashamed of my dance skills or lack thereof.
After rehearsal, we headed out for a morning of tours. We stopped at the bean factory first. The funny thing was, we were required to wear earplgus (and hairnets and hard hats too) and therefore were unable to hear a work the tour guide said. I had to make things up in my head as we went along. Next, we went to a local farm where we learned all about corn and its impact on our daily lives. This was much more interesting, as I was able to acutally hear it. We had a chance to drive the tractors, but I declined due to the amazing photo ops. You will understand when you see the photos. :)
After lunch with the Rotary club, we went back to rehearse talent in the civic center (barn). Mine went terribly because I couldn't hear anything, and my hands were ice cold from the air conditioning. Yay! It's always reassuring to have a bad rehearsal. Later we headed to CVS for a few items and had some down time before rehearsal started again. We learned walking patterns for swimsuti (easy) and evening wear (some may call this one a tad complicated, but I will refer to it as a "corn maze"). The day ended with a community dinner at the Civic Center. Later on, my fabulous chaperone, Janelle, was so kind as to drive me to the track and watch me run so I could get a workout in. Safety first! Breaking news: Miss Utah and I will be running in the 5K race on Saturday morning before the parade. Anyone coming to Sweetheart should be sure to get up extra early to catch a glimpse of me in non-pageant form. I promist there will be sweat and maybe even tears if this weather doesn't improve.
I can't stress enough how happy I am to be here and how lucky I feel to have this opportunity. Stay tuned to find out about the rest of the week.
With love from Hoopeston,