Two Calallen young ladies are among the eight contestants vying this weekend for title of Miss Feria de las Flores 2008.

The 49th annual scholarship-leadership development pageant begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Del Mar College's Richardson Performance Center with about $6,000 of scholarship money at stake.

Calallen High School senior Ariel Natalie Monte and 2008 Calallen High School graduate Bianca Marie Ibarra are this year's local contestants.

The Feria de las Flores pageant is a cultural program sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens Council No. 1. Each contestant studies a state in Mexico and dresses in a costume representative of that state.

The concept has its origins in festivals held in villages across Mexico when men and women adorned themselves in colorful costumes and performed a variety of dances.

The costumes and songs used for the Feria de las Flores typify various regions in Mexico and a song typical of a particular Mexican state. Each of the contestants will appear in a dress that typifies the state she represents and perform a 3-minute dance routine of the state song.

Ariel, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jose Carlos and Mary Monte, all of Calallen, will be representing the state of Jalisco and dancing to "La Madrugada."

Bianca, the daughter of Javier and Yolanda Ibarra of Calallen, is representing Tamaulipas and her song is "El Circo."

Robstown High School's El Mariachi de mi Pueblo will perform at the pageant and admission is free.

Contestants are judged on the six categories of beauty, personality, poise, costume, dance routine, and on-stage question. A contestant may receive up to 20 points per category for a maximum of 120 points.

The contestants will be interviewed and judged Friday night on the categories of beauty, personality and poise.

The judging Saturday night will be based on costume, dance routine and on-stage question.

The queen receives a $3,000 scholarship and will represent LULAC Council No. 1 in all community and social activities during the year of her reign.

The first runner-up receives a $1,000 scholarship. The second runner-up gets a $500 scholarship and the third runner-up gets a $400 scholarship.

Non-placing participants will receive a $200 scholarship to the college of their choice.

There is also a $1,000 scholarship for the contestant that sells the most ads.

Past queens have gone on to achieve academic and professional excellence and many former queens have contributed many hours of community and charitable work in the Coastal Bend region.

Since Feria de las Flores began in 1959 under the sponsorship of LULAC Council No. 1, it has become the largest scholarship fundraising activity in the local Hispanic community, donating more than $1 million in scholarships to area students throughout the Coastal Bend, regardless of ethnic or racial origin.

Abby Pina was crowned the first queen in 1959 and Tania Catalina Garcia of Corpus Christi is the reigning queen.

For more information, call pageant general chairperson Elva Estrada at 387-7114 or vice chair Olivia Barrera at 387-8996.