OAKDALE  (AP) - Eight Klondike Kate contestants will take turns belting out songs Wednesday night in hopes of being crowned St. Paul's mistress of fun and frivolity.

The contest begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Prom Center in Oakdale. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Contestants will be judged on their musical performance, song choice, costuming and crowd appeal.

The Klondike Kates also will host at charity "gold rush" at Prom Center. Licensed appraisers will be there to accept old gold pieces and jewelry, appraise them and pay cash to guests on the spot. Proceeds will go to Memorial Blood Center.

Wednesday's contest marks the unofficial start of the St. Paul Winter Carnival. The 126th Winter Carnival runs from Jan. 26-Feb. 5.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved)