COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The 70th annual Miss Georgia competition kicked off Saturday evening. Eighty beauty queens from across the state participated in various events to prepare for this year's weeklong competition.
The contestants had their meet-and-greet session with the current Miss Georgia and their families. The Miss Georgia parade also took place on Broadway as well as the 5K pajama run.
"Its weird being here and not being nervous," Carly Mathis, the current Miss Georgia said. "This week has been very emotional. Looking at all the girls getting ready for the pageant is odd, because I was in their shoes last year and two prior to that. It's weird to just sit back and relax without having to worry about the same things all the other girls are worried about."
This year, there are 39 Miss Georgia contestants and 41 Miss Georgia's outstanding teen contestants vying for the crowns.
The oldest living Miss Georgia, 87-year-old Trudie Hayward Corley also came to the Rivercenter to participate in Saturday night's activities.
"When I competed back in 1944, the pageant took place in Atlanta," Corley said. "I love all the contestants this year. They are sweet and joyful to be around. And seeing these beauty queens makes me think back to the time when I was competing."
Corley said she is looking forward to the talent portion of the pageant.
"I love talent," Corley said. "I'll be speaking to many of the girls this week about their performances. I remember talent being the most important part of the pageant when I competed."
The famous Miss Georgia competition is not just about tiaras and dresses. Wendy Henderson with the pageant said the contest helps women achieve their dreams while also helping the local economy.
"The Columbus visitors Bureau tells us that we contribute about half a million dollars to the economy each year," Henderson said. "Miss Georgia competition will also give away about a total of $2 million which is part of the $45 million that Miss America gives across the country as scholarship money. That's phenomenal."
The first round of the 70th annual Miss Georgia pageant will begin this Wednesday and News Leader 9 will be following the pageant to bring you the latest.