Miss Georgia Pageant in Columbus continues to make history

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - For 67 years contestants have been competing in Columbus for the title of Miss Georgia.  But, many wonder: why the Fountain City?  Billy Kendall with the Miss Georgia Board of Trustees says it all goes back to before this Pageant even existed.

"There would be a pageant held somewhere and the next year the pageant would not be held.  So, you had  one Miss Georgia representative and it may be 3 or 4 years before there would be another one," said Kendall.

In 1944, B. Ed Johnson from Columbus was a judge in a pageant in Atlanta, alongside a representative from the Miss America Pageant.  She later asked him if Columbus would be willing to host a Miss Georgia pageant.  Kendall says it took 15 minutes and he had an answer: Yes.  Then, the planning began for the first Miss Georgia Pageant in 1945.

"Outdoors at Memorial stadium and they just hoped it would not rain.  I believe there were just a few contestants that year primarily from the Columbus area," said

That has changed...this year 40 ladies are competing for the title, contestants like Cassie Lee, Miss Columbus, and Laura Lee's daughter. We talked to the proud mom.

"We've had almost a year to get her ready for this and it has just been a blast.  She's met so many interesting people, and it has been a whirlwind," said Lee.

One thing may not have changed over the years.  As the young women stepped on the stage for the first round of swim suits, evening gown, or talent, you can bet they are feeling nervous just like those ladies in 1945.

The pageant will continue every evening in Columbus for the rest of the week with the winner of the Miss Georgia Pageant being crowned on Saturday.

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