COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Nearly 100 beauty queens arrived in Columbus Saturday morning to 'check-in' for the Miss Georgia and Outstanding Teen pageants. Every year, the contestants come from all over the state to the Fountain City to see who will wear the crown.
During the annual "Meet the Crowns" event Mayor Teresa Tomlinson welcomed the girls to the Fountain City.
"We are so glad to have you, it does my heart good to be surrounded by princesses and queens. This is indeed a great, great event. Every year we look forward to it, for 72 years, for the second largest city in the state," explained Tomlinson.
It was around this time last year when Miss America Betty Cantrell of Warner Robbins competed for the Miss Georgia title at the RiverCenter of the Performing Arts in Uptown Columbus.
Three months later, Cantrell went on to Atlantic City, NJ where she razzled and dazzled the judges all the way to the top. Cantrell was crowned Miss America in September 2015 at the most-famous beauty pageant on the planet.
"The Miss America Pageant is nationally broadcast on ABC, it's a great way for girls to get involved because they see it on that national level and they say, 'Oh, I can get involved. We have a pageant in my hometown; I can be there one day' and they can because it happened with Betty Cantrell," said Cassie Meyers, Miss Georgia Board of Trustee member.
Meyers added more and more girls are competing in local pageants with 98 contestants this year competing in both state pageants in Columbus starting this week compared to about 88 girls who competed last year.
"Those numbers have been great this year which means we get more girls at the state level," added Meyers.
The contestants will not only use their beauty but their intellect, talent and scholastic achievement hoping to wow the judges just like Betty Cantrell.
The Miss Georgia Pageant is a precursor to The Miss America pageant...the largest provider of scholarships for young women in the U-S, according to pageant coordinators.
The pageant competition is from June 14- 18 in the Bill Heard Theatre at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased at RiverCenter.org or at the RiverCenter Box Office at 706-256-3612.