Family and Friends Cheer on Miss Maine This Weekend 

Catherine Pegram

The national spotlight will shine tomorrow night on a young woman from Chester. Arikka Knights, who hold the title of Miss Maine, is competing in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas. And her family, along with the community, couldn’t be more proud.”That’s taken up in Danforth, she marched with her grandpa and her Uncle Morris in the parade.”Mariel Knights and Joanne Tash are two women who gush over their granddaughter Arikka with good reason. The 24-year-old from Chester is competing to be the next Miss America, after winning the title of Miss Maine in June.”I couldn’t even stand up and clap for her cause I sat right there and bawled!”Arikka’s appearance in the Miss America pageant is the payoff for years of work that started when she was just a few years old. It’s also a tribute to her mother, Wanda, who died five years ago.”Her mother is so proud of her, so proud, yes, yup. She worked hard. As I told Arikka, mom worked hard, dad worked hard to get you where you are.”Arikka will go for the crown before a live audience on national television.Her family says she’ll hold her head high to the end.”Arikka is a person that can take what comes. If she wins, fine. If she don’t, she can stand up to it.”Mariel says no matter what happens, she hopes her granddaughter’s moment in the spotlight – representing her home state – is something everyone can be proud of. “This is the State of Maine – not just Chester, not just Lincoln, not just us folks here. The whole state of Maine.”Arikka’s dad, along with about 40 people from the area, are in Las Vegas to root her on. And two local businesses in Lincoln, Shooters Bar and Grill and Timber House Restaurant, are hosting watching parties tomorrow night in support of Arikka, too.