COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition has been held in Columbus, Georgia, for many years.
The scholarship competition, originally called the Miss Georgia Pageant, dates back to the 1940s, according to the Miss Georgia Website. The competition has been held in Columbus consistently for 77 years. This year’s competition will be held at the River Center, where it has been for the past 22 years.
The CEO of Miss Georgia, Trina Pruitt, says that it’s important to keep up the tradition despite changes that have occurred this year.
“Well ever since the founding of Miss Georgia 78 years ago, it has always been held in Columbus. We’re the only state that has kept their home base for the entire time of holding a state competition across the country so, it means a lot to us to let Columbus be our home for Miss Georgia,” said Pruitt.
“People here in Columbus, Georgia love having Miss Georgia here; they appreciate the revenue that comes in with people coming to Columbus. This is home, and this is where we’ll continue to keep coming as long as Columbus welcomes us.”
Numerous contestants, their families, and other supporters for other weekend events are estimated to bring in nearly $1.5 million of revenue just from hotel purchases.
“Just this weekend and week with the events that are coming, we’re looking at close to 1.5 million, and there’s also factors that the visitor’s bureau use where it turnovers within the community two to three times. Beyond that there’s that residual impact, where people who may not have been to Columbus in a long time who normally start there remarks about Columbus with the phrase ‘I had no idea,’ we’ll see some of those people come back with their families,” stated Mayor Henderson.
“We’ll see them discover Columbus for what it is, which is an incredible in-state visit opportunity and a chance for a short vacation. So we’ll see the impacts for a long time.”
With this year’s competition dealing with multiple changes due to several events being hosted in the city around the same time, the city has made several accommodations for the Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition.
The changes include allowing the competition to use the Bibb Mill Center as well as offering a place for contestants and their families to stay at the Marriott Hotel, and allowing Miss Georgia “Meet the Crowns” to take place at the River Center.
“When we had the opportunity over a year ago on the possibility of bringing the state-wide GOP Convention here, we knew it was going to be a busy weekend because it’s Miss Georgia check-in, and Miss Georgia has been the home in Columbus for over 70 years, and we couldn’t let that tradition die,” said Executive Director of the Columbus Trade Center Hayley Tillery.
“So instead, the orientation for Miss Georgia will be taking place at the Marriot Hotel, the Meet the Crowns will be at the River Center, and their official welcoming party will be at Bibb Mills.”
Although changes were brought to the competition due to the GOP Convention and other events, Pruitt believes it’s a great opportunity for Columbus and says Miss Georgia participants will preserve and adapt to those changes.
“I really believe it is an opportunity to applaud the people in Columbus like Hayley, Skip Henderson, and the people at the River Center for being able to handle two big events like this at the same time. Columbus is very fortunate to have these venues in place and people running these venues that can handle this,” said Pruitt.
“These girls that competed in pageantry, they know how to adapt; they know how to embrace change because that’s what it takes if you become Miss Georgia or Miss Georgia Teen.”