TAYLOR, Mich. (WJBK) - Alyssa Patrias had the night of her life this past weekend when she got the chance to participate in the Miss Downriver Pageant in Taylor.
Alyssa has Down sydrome. For the past four years she participated in the All Kids Matter Pageant, which is for kids with and without disabilities. But at 20 years old, she felt like she was too old to do it this year. Then, much to Alyssa and her mother's surprise, the pageant director asked them if Alyssa would like to participate in the Miss Down River Pageant.
"I was like, I don't know. I was real leary. But when I asked Alyssa, she was was like, yes! Sure!" Sue Cameron says. "So, they had to get permission from the Miss America organization to make sure it was okay. They were excited about it; they gladly gave her permission. The only thing was, is that everything the other contestants did she would have to do also."
And Alyssa did it all. The evening gown competition, bathing suit competition and for the talent portion she sang the Phil Collins song "You'll Be In My Heart."
"I was a nervous wreck in the audience the whole time. Between crying, anxiety, excitement, but it was all good. It was all good," Sue says.
"It was the most fun, and I really loved the dress. It was great to be up there. I was so happy," Alyssa says.
"I would have never expected this. Never expected her to be able to - not only to be accepted to do it - but to get up there and actually do it. You just never know. You need to give people a chance, right?"
And not only did she do it -- Alyssa walked away with a pretty big award.
"She won Miss Congeniality, which was voted by all the contestants," Sue says.
Alyssa says she was shocked she won
"It was so wonderful and I had an awesome time," Alyssa says.
"They were all just encouraging her, and I just started bawling. It was a beautiful thing to see, everybody accepting her, encouraging her. There wasn't one person there that wasn't kind to her and encouraging," Sue says.
Alyssa says, "It was just a great night, that night."