BANGKOK — Miss Grand Thailand’s extravagant costume contest returned to the stage Wednesday night, with one costume even commemorating the rescue of the Wild Boars football team.
Contestants from all 77 provinces donned outfits representing the best of their home regions in the “national costume” round of the Miss Grand Thailand pageant held Wednesday night at the BITEC Convention Center in Bang Na.
Miss Grand Chiang Rai, Siriporn Wangeun, wore a boar’s head, a black jeweled leotard with cave motifs, and carried a football scepter to pay homage to the rescue of 13 boys and their football coach from Tham Luang Nang Non cave last July.
Although the final round of the pageant will be held on Saturday, the splashy showcase of creativity and heritage through costume is arguably more highly anticipated than the beauty contest itself. Fans can vote for their favourites on Facebook, where a like will earn a contestant one point, while a share will earn a contestant five points. Ten of the 20 finalists will be determined by popular choice, while the remaining ten will be selected by the judges. Voting ends 5pm Friday.
The winner of Best National Costume will be rewarded a hefty 100,000 baht, with the four runner-ups will take home 30,000 baht each.
Currently leading the votes are Nakhon Ratchasima, who dressed up as local fried noodle dish pad mee korat, and Bangkok, who came onstage as a yak giant at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, complete with a mini temple on her back.
One of the top five costumes will eventually be worn by this year’s Miss Grand Thailand, who will represent the country at various pageant contests internationally.
Other flavors that made an appearance onstage included Nong Bua Lamphu who dressed up as a som tum stall, Nakhon Si Thammarat as a “Mangosteen Mountain Queen,” and Kamphaeng Phet as kluay kai bananas.
Some provinces chose to bring up social issues: the touristy Surat Thani channeled the issue of plastic waste, and Chonburi represented LGBT rights with a cabaret-inspired dress.
Many dressed up as local fauna: Krabi was a black crab, Khon Kaen prowled onstage with a king cobra hood, and Chanthaburi came decked out as a pheasant.
Like previous years, most costumes represented mythical and literary figures, with four sequined, gilded nagas from Chaiyaphum, Bueng Kan, Mukdahan, and Nong Khai.
Others represented traditions in their provinces, with the rice-producing provinces of Suphanburi and Ayutthaya competing to represent rice agriculture. Phrae came armed with a water gun, “celebrating” the local Songkran festival.
Lastly a Thai costume contest would not be complete with fabrics, with Kalasin showcasing its silk and Pattani boasting its batik.