|July 1, 1954 ad from the Lorain Journal|
That's right. The Lorain Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Lorain Journal and the Downtown Retail Merchants Association members used to crown a "Miss Vacationland."
I don't think Lorain is generally accepted as being part of the area in Ohio traditionally known as Vacationland, which includes Put-in-Bay and the Islands, Port Clinton, Sandusky, Vermilion, the Firelands, etc. But contestants from Lorain, Erie and Huron counties all competed in this pageant.
According to the ad – which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 1, 1954 – there was a pretty good first prize for the winner, consisting of an all-expense trip (including pocket money) for two to a choice of Atlantic City, New York City or Washington, D.C.
The contest was a big success, with a crowd of 4,000 watching eighteen women compete.
And the winner? It was seventeen-year-old Clearview High School Graduate Darlene Ehrlich. Darlene B. Proctor was the Runner-up.
And here's a photo of the 1953 winner, Marlene Witbeck, (right) congratulating Miss Ehrlich (left).
Darlene Ehrlich later got married and became Darlene Klingenmeier. She passed away in 2008 after a great business career including 30 years as a real estate agent. Happily, her online obituary (which you can read here) includes her 1954 beauty contest achievement.