Malaysia Black was crowned Miss Augusta Pride in 2013.
Malaysia Black was crowned Miss Augusta Pride in 2013.

Drag performance has played an important role in the LGBT community for decades — with its value of entertainment, dedication and self-expression — and has become more widely known in pop-culture within the last five years, thanks to the reality television show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” that first premiered in 2009.

As a part of many Pride celebrations, the art of gender impersonation is recognized by crowning the drag performer that best represents that year’s talent pool. The Augusta Pride crown has been held by performers across the Southeast including Columbia’s Lady La Poodle and Augusta’s Evonne Santoni and Sasha Greene. Malaysia Black, a North Carolina native now living in Atlanta, took the crown last year and will be passing her title onto the future Miss Augusta Pride.

This spring, downtown Augusta’s Sky City will host the fifth annual Miss Augusta Pride pageant, Augusta’s largest celebration for the art of gender impersonation. Contestants from both Augusta and neighboring cities are invited to compete for the coveted crown, with no limits on distance traveled to compete.

Performers will be showcased in one of Augusta’s most popular venue stages, with a professional light and sound system and an audience of 100-150 patrons. Grand prize will include $350 and the title of Miss Augusta Pride 2014. The runner up will also walk away with $150. Both winner and runner up will share the stage with national headliners at the Augusta Pride Festival, June 28, to a crowd of 8,000-1000 attendees.

This year’s pageant is directed by Richard Justice, award-winning regional director of such on-stage hits as “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Chicago” and “Sordid Lives.” The theme of this year’s pageant is Cirque de L’Amour, meaning, “Circus of Love.” For the presentation portion of the contest, contestants will be asked to evoke their interpretation of the circus arts as inspired by artistic performances such as Cirque du Soleil.

For male-as-female drag performers interested in competing, the entry fee is $100 before April 12 and $125 before April 24. If you are interested in being a contestant, you may contact Last day to register is April 24.

The Miss Augusta Pride pageant will be held on Saturday, April 26 at Sky City, 1157 Broad St., Augusta, Ga. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $10. Attendees must be 21 and over. Join us for an evening of illusion and celebration. See you there! : :