Mx. Chambana Pageant to be held at Axe Bar


Photo courtesy of Uniting Pride

Uniting Pride is hosting its annual Mx. Chambana Pageant on Sunday at Axe Bar on Neil Street in Champaign.

By Marilyn MacLaren, Staff Writer

Uniting Pride is hosting its annual Mx. Chambana Pageant on Sunday — a drag pageant looking to find the new face for this year’s CU Pride Fest. 

Nicole Frydman, the director of operations for Uniting Pride, expressed her anticipation for the event due to how it has been affected in the past two years by COVID-19. 

“The pandemic hit our community particularly hard when it shut down, so much of what was already a limited set of opportunities to gather and feel safe and free,” she said.

Along with the recent increase in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Frydman said she hopes others understand the value of the pageant as a welcome space where all identities and forms of gender expression are valued and celebrated. 

“All people deserve to live their lives in peace without the threat of violence and hate just for merely existing,” she said. “That’s what this pageant is about, that’s what Pride Fest is about (and) that’s what our year-round work is about.”

This is an all-inclusive drag pageant, so men, women, nonbinary, trans and everyone in between are welcome to join in the fun. 

“It was very important to the pageant’s creator, Peach of the Midwest, to make space for all performers to shine. We were thrilled to do it alongside her,” Frydman said. 

Peach of the Midwest, who held the title of Ms. Chambana 2021, will be honored at the pageant and oversee who will be seceding her throne. 

“Whether someone is honoring the old school style of drag, rocking the new wave, or bringing a creation entirely their own making, it’s all welcome on our stage,” Frydman said. 

The theme for this year is “Express YOURSELF,” so contestants are advised to come in their best garments dressed to impress and show who they are as an entertainer, as this is one of the categories they’ll be judged on for the winning title.

The four categories the pageant will be judged on are presentation, formal wear, a Q&A segment and talent. The winner of the pageant will receive a $100 cash prize, a plaque, crown and sash to commemorate the win, a photo shoot and two guaranteed bookings for future performances. 

“Drag shows are always amazing. It becomes electric,” Frydman said while explaining how much she’s looking forward to the event. “I can’t wait for that jolt. Folks should come out and see it for themselves.”

The Mx. Chambana Pageant will be held at the Axe Bar on 114 Neil St. in Champaign. Patrons must be 19 years of age or older to enter, and they can arrive as early as 5:30 p.m., with the pageant officially starting at 6 p.m. 

There are two ticket options available for those interested in attending the pageant. General Admission tickets cost $10 online or at the door, and seating is first come, first serve. The VIP package costs $25, and it includes skipping the general entry line, a reserved table seating and a free Uniting Pride T-shirt for the event.

Want to join the pageant as a contestant? The entrance fee for those interested in participating is $20, where you can register online at Be sure to snag one of these spots as soon as possible, as there are only eight slots available for contestants vying for the crown. 

For more information about the event or what Uniting Pride has to offer for the community, check out to buy tickets or register as a contestant for the pageant. 


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