This year's Fresno Flats Heritage Days, which will be celebrated for an entire week in September, will serve as the Oakhurst kick-off for the 2014 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant.
This year, the Mountain Belle Pageant is returning with the crowning of the Mountain Belle and her Court on Sept. 19 at the Golden Chain Theatre.
Communities surrounding Yosemite are in the planning stages for many activities, events and programs during 2014 to commemorate the anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, a bill that ushered in the National Park idea.
On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln's signature enacted the protection and preservation of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias for eternity.
"Our community is coming together to celebrate the Yosemite Grant throughout 2014," said Mary Lou Finley, Mountain Belle coordinator. The Mountain Belle and her Court will be highlighted in many activities as the world sees our mountain area celebration."
The theme of "A Step Back In Time" depicts women's dress fashions throughout the 150 years since the Yosemite Grant by having the Mountain Belle and her Court dressing in a variety of costumes dating from 1864 to present -- A "living history" of fashion through the ages.
"This is a great opportunity for all clubs, businesses and local organizations to sponsor a contestant," Finley said.
Contestants must be 14-18 years old. All contestants will be provided training to include visual poise, makeup and personality development. The Mount Belle and her Court will ride in the Heritage Days parade and work with the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce throughout the year.
The first contestant, Katelyn Saderman, is sponsored by the Vision Academy of the Arts.
Sponsors who need a contestant or girls looking for sponsors are encouraged to call for more information. The deadline for participation is June 6.
Details: Mary Lou Finley, (559) 683-3789, Kat Musacchio, (559) 760-5287.