The 68th Miss Hospitality Competition will be held at 8 p.m. July 20-21 at the Historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater in Downtown Hattiesburg.
In its 21st year as host city, Hattiesburg will showcase this year’s best and brightest young women as they compete for the title of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality. Thirty-one 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.
For the first time, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition has added a Little Miss Hospitality component. Each local representative has selected a young girl between the ages of 6 and 10 from her hometown to mentor throughout her reign. Little Misses will appear on stage during competition and be invited to official events. If crowned the next Mississippi Miss Hospitality, the contestant’s Little Miss will be able to serve alongside her as she fulfills her duties and responsibilities as Mississippi’s Goodwill Ambassador.
“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,” Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESURG said. “From the beautiful campus of the University of Southern Mississippi to the Historic Saenger Theater and Hattiesburg Zoo, these young women and their supporters will get to know Hattiesburg quite well during competition week.”
Arriving on July 15, the contestants will be welcomed to the USM before starting their week-long journey to the crowning ceremony on July 21.
Throughout competition week in Hattiesburg, contestants will attend social events, participate in community service projects and attend required rehearsals and competitions. The public is invited to meet the contestants at the Miss Hospitality autograph party from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Friday, July 20, at the Hattiesburg Zoo. Presented by VisitHATTIESBURG and the Mississippi Development Authority, in conjunction with the University of Southern Mississippi, the City of Hattiesburg, Hattiesburg Saenger Theater and Forrest General Hospital, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition annually awards more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to the top finalists.
Emma Grace McGrew, 19, of Booneville, served as Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality in 2017. McGrew graciously wore the crown, sharing her love of Mississippi during various speaking engagements and events as the state’s goodwill ambassador. In June 2018, she also visited Washington, D.C., to attend Mississippi on the Mall, tour the White House, and meet several elected officials. McGrew graduated from Northeast Community College this past spring and will be transferring to the Mississippi University for Women in the fall, where she will major in Speech Language Pathology.
Guests will also enjoy entertaining productions on both Friday and Saturday evenings during the competition. Vocal and dance performances by contestants and local groups, including the Forrest General Spirit Girls, will provide festivities for both evenings. The finale is set for Saturday evening at 8 p.m., where the Top 10 contestants will compete for the crown.