Miss Georgia's Economic Impact on Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Miss Georgia's Economic Impact on Columbus

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The 69th annual Miss Georgia pageant will be held at RiverCenter in Columbus, Ga. from this Wednesday June 19 through Saturday June 22.

Once again, beautiful, intelligent ladies from all parts of Georgia will be here to compete for Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia's Outstanding Teen.

Miss Georgia is for young ladies who are 17 to 24 years old, and Miss Georgia's Outstanding Teen is for girls who are 14 to 17 years old. But this pageant is more than just bright smiles, tiaras and dresses; it also brings a positive economic impact to local businesses in Columbus.

Mansfield Bias, who has served as the president of the Miss Georgia Pageant since 1990, says the beauty contest has helped the local businesses in Columbus for years.

"We've been bringing hundreds, if not thousands of people to this city," Bias explained. "The contestants and their accompanies have to book hotels, eat out at our restaurants and shop. They love shopping."

Since 1945, The Miss Georgia Pageant has been held in Columbus. The contest has been held in many different locations including Memorial Football Stadium, Columbus Municipal Auditorium and various theaters. However, Bias explains that RiverCenter has been home to the pageant ever since the facility opened.

Miss Rome Cierra Jackson and Miss Cumming Fair Katie Grego spoke to us about how important of a role the pageant plays for the local businesses in downtown.

"I think it's always important to think about local politics and local economy," said Cierra Jackson. "I think with many different people coming into town, the diversity will enhance our local businesses."

Cierra Jackson lived in Fort Benning and she says Columbus is a very special place to her.

"It's wonderful that we are able to impact and help our economy locally, especially since small businesses are in trouble right now," said Miss Cumming Fair Katie Grego. "I'm so happy to be part of it."

Bias says he's excited for Miss Georgia's Pageant to begin and watch our local businesses flourish. He also explained that restaurants in Columbus have been very supportive. The contestants and the judges receive meals from local restaurants, and Bias says he's grateful for everyone's help and support.

"We have 81 contestants competing this year for two different titles…which means their friends and family members from all around the world come and visit Columbus, too," Bias said. "These people eat lunch and supper every day and the restaurants all contributed their meals and help for us. It's great to know that the restaurants in Columbus are very generous."

Miss Georgia will be announced this Saturday, and the contestants will be judged for their talent, swim wear and their ability to elaborate their thoughts during interviews. The top ten contestants will receive scholarships to help pay for college, books and other education-related matters.  

The tickets are still available in RiverCenter's box office this week. Tickets are $35 from Wednesday and Thursday, $65 on Friday and $85 on Saturday. Visit www.missga.org for more information.

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