By Maddy Vitale
There were 11 contestants for Miss Ocean City 2019. The contestants each competed in talent, swimwear, evening gowns and an on-stage question. The talent consisted of strong performances in tap, jazz, singing and musical theater.
But it was one contestant, Megan Keenan, 19, of Ocean City, who really stood out to the judges and the crowd that filled the Music Pier on Saturday night and was crowned Miss Ocean City 2019.
Keenan, with a gleaming smile, appeared confident and poised onstage throughout the evening.
During her on-stage question, Keenan was asked why she wants to pursue a career in nursing.
The St. Joseph’s University student said, “Helping others has always been a passion of mine, to put a smile on someone’s face. Having a year of service helping others will help me apply that to a nursing career.”
Keenan also shined in a spirited performance of James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing,” wowing the crowd and the judges.
Other contestants who impressed the judges were first runner up Rosalie Graham, 17, second runner up, Paige Aita, 17, and third runner up Jordan Fritsch, 17.
Aita gave an athletic jazz dance performance to, “Don’t You Worry About a Thing,” while smiling through her kicks, turns and spins.
But the night wouldn’t be complete without honoring the outgoing Miss Ocean City 2018 Madison Leigh Kennelly for the work she has done through the year.
Kennelly took center stage with her seamless tap dance number for the opening act to “The Greatest Show,” complete with a trapeze artist and acrobat at each side of the Music Pier stage, setting the tone for an exciting night of talent and pageantry.
Prior to crowning her successor, Kennelly, 19, of Tuckahoe, performed a second tap dance routine and sang a solo of “This is Me” from “The Greatest Show,” accompanied by the OCTC Spotlight Performers Show Choir.
Miss Ocean City serves as an ambassador for Ocean City at iconic traditions such as Night in Venice, Pamper Scamper, the Baby Parade, Wacky Wednesdays and other activities.
In all, Kennelly appeared at about 60 events. In a video retrospective of her yearlong reign shown to the Music Pier audience, she reminisced about all of the memorable events she attended. She said the one she liked the most was the fundraiser to send a child to afterschool programs for a year.
She also recalled all of the wonderful times she had with fellow crown holders, Junior Miss Ocean City 2018 Hope Aita and Little Miss Ocean City 2018 Ginger Mumman.
Director of Ocean City Department of Community Services Michael Allegretto said Kennelly has been a wonderful ambassador for Ocean City.
“Madison took it to another level,” said Allegretto, who oversees the pageant. “Miss Ocean City isn’t about being a queen. It is about helping kids and the community. It is about good kids taking pride in our events.”
Ocean City Director of Special Events Michael Hartman called Kennelly “an exceptional Miss Ocean City.”
“She has definitely left an imprint and a legacy,” Hartman said.
The new Miss Ocean City is ready to step in and do her part for the community, Keenan said.
Keenan, an Ocean City High School graduate, is not new to pageantry and emphasized she is ready for what lies ahead. She is a former Junior Miss Ocean City and was the third runner up for Miss Ocean City last year.
Backstage, she was joined by her parents, Ed and Jessica Keenan, of Ocean City, and other family members and friends.
She grinned ear to ear while trying to gather everyone up for a photo, adjusting her crown and clutching a bouquet of flowers.
“I can’t wait,” Keenan said of her new, very busy schedule that comes with the crown.