The contestants in the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival queen contest got to show their artistic side July 5 at Hot Pots Pottery in Alliance.

The contestants got together to paint vases for their pageant sponsors.

"They each paint a vase for their sponsors, so it’s a gift that they’re going to be giving to their sponsors during the Parents Sponsor Social on Thursday, July 19," said Jenny Ritchie, a Greater Alliance Carnation Festival pageant board member.

The event was created eight years ago as a partnership with Hot Pots owner Troy Myers and Missy Miller, another pageant board member.

"Well, originally it was set up eight years ago as a kind of a get-together for the girls to meet each other, and then it turned into ‘let’s make something for the sponsors,’ and Troy offered to donate, and we took it," Miller said. "It’s still a get-together, but it’s a working thing that they can do and ended up sponsors benefit.

"A lot of times, the contestants will remain friends even after the pageant, and these events help them to get together."

She said this event is different than those the ladies have completed.

"Because it’s not a lot of work, it’s a relaxing time for them to just have fun painting and know each other more," Miller said.

During the event, the contestants were encouraged to paint their vase to represent the type of business of their sponsor. The contestants got some assistance from Hot Pots employees, as they worked to trace designs and logos onto the vases.

"We are here to paint vases for the sponsors, because we are thankful for paying money out for us," said contestant Alexandra Hill.

She said this event is much different than the others.

"In previous events, we went to help out with the community more, and this is just kind of an extra day. Just ‘I like to say thank you to our sponsors,’" said Hill, who is sponsored by Alliance YMCA.

Contestant Nickey Marteney, sponsored by John Schleuder-State Farm, enjoyed the art break.

"I’m having fun. I love art," she said. "I’m doing photography and taking pictures, as well. I like to thank everyone who’s helping me to do this."

Dynasty Ford, whom Lamp Post Properties is sponsoring, was focused on the fun.

"We are here to make something for our sponsors, and it’s great to get to know each other more," she said. "It’s super fun. Today, I’m just getting more comfortable and more confident and having more and more fun."