Contestants in the 2009 Miss Merrie Christmas pageant, which is 6 p.m. Saturday at the former Stained Glass Theater.

One of Houston’s holiday traditions features a new twist this year.

The annual Miss Merrie Christmas contest, sponsored by the Houston Sorosis Club, will include a junior category of middle school girls to accompany the senior division.

The pageant begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the former Stained Glass Theatre. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Five girls in each age division will compete for Houston’s holiday crown. The senior winner will receive a scholarship. The top two finishers in each group will win prize money. Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality will also be recognized.

The contestants will compete in introduction, talent, evening gown and interview and question from a three-person panel of judges. A final category, practice preparation, scores the girls on their attendance and timeliness since practices for the pageant began.

The United Methodist Church bell choir will provide entertainment during the intermission.

The pageant is the main fund-raiser for the Sorosis Club, which supports Hospice of Care, Crop Walk, Share Your Christmas, Texas County Food Pantry and Project Prom.

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