It has been a memorable month of December for Binghamton resident Kathryn Fitzgerald.  Just before Christmas she won the Royal Miss International Pageant in Harrisburg, Pa.  She was crowned as Pennsylvania's representative and will advance to the national competition in Orlando, Florida at Disney World next summer.  New York State does not hold competitions in this pageant and contestants in an adjoining state like New York can compete in Pennsylvania.  Other contestants took part in the competition from Ohio as well.

Appearing on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program on Monday morning with Roger Neel, Fitzgerald said there were 15 contestants in her age group. Wearing her Royal Miss International purple and silver crown she said a panel of judges interviews each contestant.  Contestants are judged on answers they provide as well as how they present themselves during the competition.

Fitzgerald says she competed on an autism awareness platform and was inspired growing up by her little brother who has autism. She plans to make numerous appearances speaking about autism and also plans to volunteer to help with special needs children.

The new beauty queen says she spent ten weeks studying and training to compete in pageants like the Royal Miss International. Her mentor was the winner of the 1979 Miss USA Pageant. She estimates she has won ten other pageants over recent years and got her start entering a beauty pageant at Tioga Downs Casino.