Madness Beauty Pageant looking for applicants

Heather Helmendach was crowned Miss Mint Hill Madness last year. After a year of service she will hand off her crown to the next winner at the September 22 pageant. Photo courtesy of Lenn Long/

The Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant is calling for applications.  The pageant will take place at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church September 22, a week before Mint Hill Madness.  Applications, found online at, and the $50 entry fee are due September 1 and can be turned in at the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce, Todd Younker State Farm Insurance, Abbey Rose Florist, Big Guy’s Pizza, First Citizens Bank, or Bob Lucas Allstate Insurance.

This year prizes include a $500 scholarship for Miss Mint Hill, a trophy, crown, sash, bouquet courtesy of Abbey Rose, and a cash prize for queens in each group, a trophy for Robinson Orthodontics’ Smile Winners in each group, a trophy and $50 off a portrait session with for the photogenic winners in each group, a free portrait session for the overall photogenic winner, and a trophy for each runner up in each age group.  Queens from the eight age groups will also ride in the Mint Hill Madness Parade September 29.

Age groups are divided into Baby Miss for three to 12 months, Toddler Miss for 13-24 months, Tiny Miss for two to three years, Little Miss for four to six years, Young Miss for seven to nine years, Junior Miss for 10-12, Teen Miss for 13-15, and Miss Mint Hill for 16-18.  Contestants six years of age and younger will compete in the 10 am pageant, and the older contestants will compete at 4 pm.

Competitions include Smile Wear, requiring a Robinson Orthodontics/Mint Hill Madness t-shirt and denim bottoms of choice; Beauty Attire, requiring Sunday dress for ages 12 and younger and pageant or prom style dress for ages 13-18; Photogenic, requiring an 8×10 photo at registration; and the Miss Private Interview for the Miss Mint Hill group, requiring a five minute interview starting at 1 pm September 22.

This is the first year the Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant is providing a scholarship, sponsored by Robinson Orthodontics.  Scholarship money is awarded after one year of completed service as Miss Mint Hill.  Community service includes attending Mint Hill’s tree lighting ceremony, helping with the senior lunch at Christmastime, and assisting with the Lions Club pancake breakfast.

Last year’s winner, Heather Helmendach, will attend the pageant.  She is throwing the first pitch at the August 12 Knights game in Fort Mill.

For more information visit the Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant Facebook page, or contact pageant director Julie Shillingburg at


American Legion baseball teams held banquet

American Legion athletic director, Steve Baucom, thanked the players, coaches, parents, and VFW Post 4059 for a great season. Photo by Amanda Waters

The Mint Hill American junior and senoir baseball teams met at the VFW Post 4059 on Bain School Road last Saturday for their end-of-year banquet.  All three teams made it to the playoffs this year.  The Army Seniors’ record was 19-20, the Army Juniors were 13-4, and the Marine Juniors were 12-7.

Of the 18 young men on the senior team, ten will go on to play baseball in college at Mars Hill, Cedarville in Ohio, Wingate, Carson-Newman, Bridgewater in V.A., Brunswick Community College, Surry Community College, Lenoir Rhyne, and Gardner Webb.

“I would like to than the legion guys for letting us use this facility to have our meetings every year…If you take a look around, there’s a lot of history in this building…The people who were involved in this building fought in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm.  They actually have some members in this legion now who have fought in Iraq…Legion baseball is created, supported, and carried on by guys who fought in the military – fought for our country.  So we’re not out here for Steve or Mint Hill or for the recognition of your kid.  We actually are playing for this particular legion and everyone who fought in the United States military in this post,” said Steve Baucom, athletic director.  “And they’re gracious enough to give us a little bit of money to play baseball.”


Fit You Studios

Brittany Kjos and Meghan Reyes (left to right) lead a Zumba class at their new studio. Photo by Amanda Waters

Two ladies in their early twenties recently opened a fitness studio off of Fairview Road, proving that entrepreneurship is alive among Mint Hill’s young adults.  Brittany Kjos and Meghan Reyes handle every level of operation for the studio, including instructing Zumba classes.

Fit You Studios opened March 3.  Kjos and Reyes acquired the studio space February 2, and in 28 days they were able to organize and transform their space.  Reyes worked to finance the project while Kjos dedicated her time to ripping out tile and painting.

Kjos is certified to instruct and has two and a half years of Zumba experience through Queen City Dance Out.  Reyes is in the process of instructor certification.  The two partner on workouts, providing instruction with face-to-face and in-the-crowd examples.

Fit You Studios provides 20 classes a week, including Zumba and yoga.  Classes are five dollars and last from 30 minutes to one hour.  There are no contracts and no commitments.  For customers who know they will work out often, Fit You provides special deals including five classes for $20 and a month of unlimited classes for $45.

Fit You Studios provides fitness to men and women, and customers range from eight years old to 74.  Kjos and Reyes say there is a niche here for Zumba.

“A lot of people that I know in Mint Hill have traveled as far as Concord to do Zumba,” said Kjos.  She believes the interest and low prices will draw people to the studio.

Kjos and Reyes created a kid corner in the studio.  Customers can work out while their kids are in the same room playing with toys and keeping an eye on Mom and Dad.

Zumba originated from South America, and combines aerobics with hip-hop, salsa, and merengue dance moves.  Classes include a two-step warm up, Zumba-focused songs, and abs-focused moves.

Fit You Studio also provides alkaline water machines and a try-before-you-buy program for water.

For more information about Fit You Studios, visit


MH Arts celebrates America


Mint Hill Arts hosted its monthly reception last Friday.  This month’s theme was America, and the exhibit runs through August 2.  Artwork included sculptures, woodwork, photographs, drawings, paintings, and textiles.  Landscapes, iconic images, and critiques came together in an expression of the complexities of the United States.

The organization recently voted for its executive officers: Tony Billotto, president; Larry Ferguson, first vice president; Marta Brown, second vice president; Becky Aranyi, secretary; Laura Sussman-Randall, treasurer.

“We just had an election for our executive committee officers, and one of the persons who has been instrumental since the day she joined mint hill arts, who is, I am inclined to say,  retiring from her office, is Laura Sussman-Randall,” said Sandra Smith.  “We thank you so much, Laura.”  Smith presented Sussman-Randall with a gift on behalf of the Mint Hill Arts membership.

“It’s been quite a ride, I’ll say that.  We’ve gone through a lot of manifestations, I think, this group. And it does always seem that the right thing happens at the right time for this group.  When we have trouble something comes through to pull us through, and we just need to keep doing that and keep acting as a community and I think we can continue to be great. I think we can do some really great things with this organization as time proceeds, so thank you,” said Sussman-Randall.  She was the president of Mint Hill Arts before becoming the treasurer.

Next month’s exhibit is Fire and Water Do Mix.  It is a juried show with two categories.  The fire category accepts artwork created with extreme heat, and the water category requires watercolor techniques.  Intake is Friday, August 3 from 4-6 pm, and Saturday, August 4 from 10 am to 12 noon.  Local artist Pam Winegard will judge the show.  There will be first, second, and third place prizes for both categories, and ribbons for honorable mentions.

September’s exhibit is a people’s choice show, and will collaborate with the Mint Hill Madness events.  The winner will be chosen by popular vote.

Photos by Amanda Waters.


Kilah Davenport returns home


Three year old Kilah Davenport retured home from the Levine Children’s Hospital Thursday to family and friends.


Democracy in action: the neighborhood Aqua meeting


Aqua North Carolina customers met with politicians last Friday to voice their concerns about the private water company’s practices.  Sharon Decker, homeowner association president for Ashe Plantation, located on 218, hosted the meeting at the Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation clubhouse.

Residents of Mint Hill, Charlotte, Union County, and Huntersville were present.  John Aneralla and Jeff Tarte came to listen to their concerns and provide information. Katie Hicks from Clean Water for North Carolina also attended.  Decker said the president of Aqua wanted to attend the meeting, but the HOA board decided the focus of Friday’s meeting was talking with the politicians.  The president has been invited to the next meeting of the neighborhoods sometime in September. Continue reading