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Sixty-three contestants from throughout Utah are in Orem this week competing in the annual Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant.

Sixty-three contestants from throughout Utah are in Orem this week competing in the annual Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant.

A new Miss Utah will be crowned Saturday evening at Mountain View High School following three days of pageant activities and preliminary competitions.Friday night, the competing young women will ride in Orem's night parade.

The pageant's theme this year is "Around the World With Miss Utah."

"Utah is actually far more cosmopolitan than people realize," said Rosanne Nielsen, who with her husband, Utah legislator Norm Nielson, directs the pageant. "We're honoring the melting pot of our state by acknowledging and celebrating the diversity of our contestants."

With the theme in mind, contestants will wear costumes from throughout the world during preliminary competitions Thursday and Friday evenings.

When Miss Provo Melissa Brinton appears on stage in the pageant's international production number, she will be wearing a dress similar to the white elk-skin wedding gown worn by Mary McDonnell in the film "Dances with Wolves."

Brinton will accent the dress with American Indian accessories, including a medicine belt and heavy turquoise and silver jewelry.

Michele Treanor of Salem will don a costume reflecting the history of Poland; Lori Ann Overly, Miss Springville, and Shelley Peterson, Miss Strawberry Days (Pleasant Grove) will show their interest in the Orient with kimonos from Japan. Kristie Nattress, Miss Utah Valley Community College, will reflect her attraction to Spain in a rich red dress from the Canary Islands.

Tickets for the preliminary competitions are available at the SCERA in Orem. Tickets for the final night of the pageant will be available at the door.

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By the numbers

If statistics tell the story, this year's Miss Utah will be 19.7 years old, have a grade-point average of 3.34, sing a vocal solo for her talent selection and attend Utah State University.

Those facts are most representative of the 63 contestants competing for the Miss Utah crown this week in Orem. Twenty young women will sing, 12 attend or attended Utah State University, and 25 are 19 years old.