A unique pageant idea that originated five years ago in Nebraska will make its first New Jersey appearance tomorrow morning. The New Jersey Miss Amazing Pageant, featuring women and girls with disabilities, is scheduled to run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mount Carmel Church Auditorium, 52 Passaic Street in Ridgewood. Admission is free.

Maris Ferreira, a 20-year-old William Paterson University student and director of the pageant, said the event was developed to help women and young girls with disabilities become more self-confident and build their self-esteem in a supportive environment.

"Since New Jersey has the highest rate of autism, I wanted to bring something different to the table," said Ferreira, who majors in special education. "It's just empowering these women to do anything they want to do."

Seven females have signed up for the event, ranging from eight to 25-years-old. Each contestant falls in a different age group, so everyone will be a winner at Saturday's event.

The pageant will feature talent, interview and formal wear portions.

"These girls are so excited to be doing this," Ferreira said.

The nonprofit event is not only helping the participants, but neighboring communities as well. In place of an entry fee, tomorrow's participants were asked to donate five cans of food, which will be handed over to a nearby charity.

New Jersey is now the 11th state hosting the event.

Ferreira said the pageant will make a big impact on the disabled community.

She continued, "In the future, I would love to make this much bigger and more statewide."