Happenings: 70th Annual Miss Hospitality

Celebrating its 70th anniversary, Mississippi Miss Hospitality will host its largest competition in more than a decade, welcoming 44 contestants to Hattiesburg in July. 

This year’s program features not only the contestants but their Little Misses and former state Miss Hospitalities as well. The Platinum Jubilee competition will take place at 8 p.m. July 26 and 27 at the Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg.

In its 22nd year as the host city, Hattiesburg will showcase this year’s best and brightest young women as they compete for the title of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality. Forty-four women, who represent all regions of the state, will vie for the title of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality, with the winner serving for a full year as the state’s official ambassador for economic development and tourism.  

In 2018, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition added a Little Miss Hospitality component, which encourages local representatives to serve as a mentor throughout her reign to a young girl from her hometown between the ages of 6 and 10. Returning this year, the program allows Little Misses to appear on-stage during competition and participate in official events. If crowned the next Mississippi Miss Hospitality, the contestant’s Little Miss will serve alongside her as she fulfills her duties and responsibilities as Mississippi’s Goodwill Ambassador.

“Tourism is the front door to our state, and economic development is the backbone,” said  Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG. “For 70 years, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality program has championed these economic sectors while supporting the state’s best and brightest young women through a scholarship program. As the contestants, along with their friends, family, and Little Miss participants, travel to Hattiesburg, we are eager to welcome them and showcase our city.” 

Arriving on July 21, the contestants will be welcomed to the University of Southern Mississippi before starting their week-long journey to the crowning ceremony on July 27.  

Throughout competition week in Hattiesburg, contestants will attend social events, participate in community service projects, and attend rehearsals and competitions. The public is invited to meet the contestants at the Miss Hospitality autograph party from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, July 26, at Turtle Creek Mall. 

A program of VisitHATTIESBURG, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition is presented by the Mississippi Development Authority, The University of Southern Mississippi, the City of Hattiesburg, Hattiesburg Saenger Theater and Forrest General Hospital. Sponsorships and patrons allow the program to annually award more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to participants. 

“Hattiesburg is delighted to be in its 22nd year as hostcity of this statewide program, which promotes ambassadorship in tourism and economic development,” said Kristen Brock, Miss Hospitality program coordinator. “Each year, we have a talented group of young female leaders participating in Miss Hospitality, who eagerly await the opportunity to showcase their love for their hometowns and for Mississippi.” 

Tickets are expected to sell out, so pre-purchases are encouraged. Tickets are available online at HattiesburgSaenger.com or by calling (601) 584.4888.