Mrs. Essex County started in 1971, after a fair volunteer, Nancy Begin, pitched the idea to the fair’s general manager, Paul Corson, the previous year. Before that they had the Miss EC which had different rules, such as they were not married and competed in competitions such as swimsuit competitions. The Miss EC dates back to the 1950’s. The pageant once was held outdoors at the Trianon Stage. Today it has been moved indoors to Coolidge Hall.
Through the years, hundreds of women have entered the Mrs. Essex County Pageant for the honor of representing the Essex Agricultural Society at local events and serving as hostess of the Topsfield Fair.
It is not a beauty competition – the Mrs. Essex County Pageant invites entries from married women living with their husband in Essex County, over the age of 18, with general appearance, poise, outgoing personality, and spirit of volunteerism. Contestants must also submit a homemade food item for judging.
Through the decades the pageant’s mission has been to celebrate the role of the contemporary, married woman who exemplify a multi-faceted commitment to family, work, community, as well as herself.