REGIONAL Federal Credit Union sponsored the annual Popcorn Fest Cutest Baby Contest on September 3. While the contest has been going on for 36 years, REGIONAL has been sponsoring it for less than a decade.
Around three weeks prior to the contest, over 100 babies came out to try and compete in the contest. By the actual competition, the number was decreased to only six boys and six girls. In order to participate, the child had to be less than two years of age and be a member of Porter County.
During the competition, the parents walked their babies in front of the crowd to show them off. Then the each had the chance to talk about their child, for 30 seconds to a minute. The judges of the show then made decisions by scoring each child on a twenty point scale. The scale had three categories: face, personality, and dress.
At the end of the night, one baby boy and one baby girl were dubbed as the "Cutest Baby". After the judges finished making scores they announced the winners; giving them both a bag of goodies and a sash.
Taking the title of cuties babies was Annelise White and Henrich Seal.
"I just wanted something fun to do with my daughter who is very outgoing and crazy," White's mother Natalie White said. "It's something to tell her about when she grows up."
While the event was a great time for all involved, Seal's mother was also happy to participate in something so community related.
"We want to just have a good sense of community participating in everything Valparaiso has to offer," Jennifer Seal said. "I've been coming to the Popcorn Fest since I was little and it's fun to be able to pass that tradition on to our kids."
Even for those who did not win, participating in the event was an enjoyable experience.
"I hope to get Liam involved with the community and get him involved with other babies," Hayley Winn, mother of Cutest Baby contestant Liam, said. "I did it not to really gain anything for me, just for him."
There are lots of people who came out to witness the cuteness overload. There was also a food table set up by the Valparaiso Band.
"Every year I think the contestants get cuter and cuter, so it's really hard to pick a winner," REGIONAL Federal Credit Union Vice President of Marketing, and judge for the evening's event, Kevin Kosek said.