As she ended her reign as Miss Farmington 2011 last night, Elise Newcomer thanked her "personal paparazzi" – Farmington-Farmington Hills Patch, the Farmington Observer and Farmington Press – for chronicling her year-long journey.
I'd like to return the favor.
Over the past year, Elise has taken on an incredible number of activities, working with others to raise about $2,500 for Sweet Dreamzzz, the Michigan Veterans Foundation and Joy Southfield Development Corporation. Those funds will help kids in need get a better night's sleep, they'll help homeless veterans and residents in a western Detroit neighborhood.
With her court, Elise attended Porch Parties at the Governor Warner Mansion and Longacre House, rang the bell at the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market, helped out at charity events and perpetuated the princess dream for scores of little girls in our community.
One of her most interesting projects has been introducing contra dances, held monthly at American Legion Post #346 in Farmington. Before she told me about them, I had no idea what contra dances were.
"It's similar to square dancing," Elise told me last October, "with a little more of a swing tinge to it."
In addition to raising funds for charity, the dances create another wholesome, family activity. And we can't have too many of those.
Ask anyone who met her this year – Elise was a great ambassador for our community. It has been my privilege to document some of her activities, especially her pizza-baking venture at Bellacino's and her work with the Michigan Veterans Foundation. (A big shout out to her parents Les and Janet Newcomer for the photos they shared as well.)
And like the 2010 Miss Farmington Jenny Fernandez, and every Miss Farmington before her, Elise leaves behind some big shoes to fill.
Fortunately for Miss Farmington 2012 Elena Pavlicas, they're dancing shoes.