The much-awaited evening is almost here for 10 excited candidates at this year’s Apple Blossom Royalty Selection Pageant. Friends and families will attend Saturday’s festivities in the hundreds, though most — over 250 — in cardboard cutout form.

The pageant starts at 7 p.m. in the Numerica Performing Arts Center, preceded for an hour by the Countdown to Coronation. Candidates have been preparing for the event over the last few weeks.

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