The Mrs. Delaware pageant, a preliminary for the Mrs. America pageant, will be held in Middletown next month. Directors say that they're still looking for a few more women to compete and they're hoping that the passage of last year's marriage equality bill will bring a few new faces to the program.

The Mrs. Delaware America pageant is calling all the married ladies. Why? Well, it's not to "put a ring on it." Officials say they'd rather put a crown on it.

The program will hold its statewide competition at the historic Everett Theatre in Middletown next month. Nearly 10 girls are currently registered to compete but co-directors Fred Wright and Tracie Green would like to see more women register to compete.

“There is no age limit except that she must be 18 years old,” Green said. “And, of course, she must be married.”

Much like the Miss America pageant, Mrs. America will be scored across several categories, including interviews, swimwear and evening gown. Astute pageant fans will notice that there is no talent competition, usually a big crowd-pleaser.

“We believe that being married is talent enough,” states the Mrs. Delaware website.

A new twist this year comes as a result of last year’s victory for same sex couples in the state of Delaware. Since Gov. Jack Markell signed the marriage equality bill, Green says there’s an exciting opportunity for Delaware’s newly-hitched gay women to participate.

“I would love to see more gay women participating,” she went on to say. “We feel strongly that they should be in our pageant. We want to see them take advantage of the same experiences and exposure as other married women have been able to with Mrs. Delaware.”

“It really is a wonderful opportunity for any woman,” said Mrs. America 2012 Tara Greenhouse, a Middletown resident who found her year-long reign a string of rewarding appearances and meetings with organizations like Delaware Hospice and A.I. DuPont Hospital. “I also got to meet with Gov. Markell about a project connecting high school students as mentors for middle school students.”

The Mrs. Delaware mission isn’t just about what a married woman brings to the table—which Green and Wright admit is tremendous—it’s also about how her year representing the state will affect her. The pageant encourages participants to advance their personal, professional and humanitarian goals while also doing everything they can to achieve higher levels of self-awareness, self-confidence and social awareness.

Mrs. Delaware 2013 Christine Rich said that growth has been the largest theme of her title-holding year.

“One thing I’ve taken away is how much I’ve grown,” she said. “You get to know yourself pretty well and you really gain a greater understanding of the causes you want to participate in and the kind of difference you want to make in the community.”

Prospective contestants are able to pick their titles when they register and pay the $499 entrance fee. Middletown resident Kate Godwin chose Mrs. Middletown and is excited to be one of the contestants representing the area she calls home. Godwin is actually the director for the First State Queens Pageant but thought that participation as a contestant could make her a better director. She was also impressed with the mission of the Mrs. America organization.

“It promotes married women in such a positive way,” Godwin said. “It shows that we can—and do—have families and careers, we help out in our communities and we can be positive role models in our communities.”

Rich said that she hopes that women see the pageant for what it is: a broad opportunity that makes room for every type of married woman.

“It’s not like other pageants. It’s so much fun,” Rich explained. “The most important thing they’re looking for is just that you have a concrete marriage because you’ll representing married women in Delaware and hopefully, you’ll go on to represent them nationally and internationally as well. Anyone can enter. Everyone should enter. Just give it a shot.”