Child beauty pageant organisers considered staging it in scrap yard

Organisers of a US-themed child beauty pageant were so desperate to find a venue, they even checked out a run-down industrial estate and considered staging it in a dilapidated scrap metal yard.

Texas-based Universal Royalty’s plans to host their debut show in Ireland last September were thrown into chaos when management at their first-choice venue pulled the plug on the pageant two days before it was scheduled to take place.

Although the &contest went ahead two days later at an alternative venue, the full extent of the frantic efforts pageant chiefs went to to secure a location have only now come to light in a documentary.

Producers of The Irish Child Pageant Storm spent weeks filming Universal Royalty boss Annette Hill, both at her home in Texas and during her drama-filled few days in Ireland, as she suffered repeated stumbling blocks in her bid to stage the contentious pageant.

At one stage Ms Hill admits: “I’m freaking out, trying to find a venue at the very last minute. I’m calling out to everyone. I don’t care if it’s a church, a park or if it’s a nursery, we’ve got to have a pageant.”

Then, with just hours to go before a scheduled interview on The Late Late Show, Ms Hill is filmed driving to Duleek Industrial Estate in Co Meath, after being told that a venue has been secured.

Cameras tail her as she nervously approaches a crumbling scrap metal yard, before she realises she has been sent on a wild goose chase.

Just before midnight on the night before the pageant, Ms Hill hears the news she’s been longing for, as management at Corrigan’s Kitchen, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, confirm they will host the event, and a slimmed-down version goes ahead.

* The Irish Child Pageant Storm airs on RTÉ One at 9.35pm tonight.

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