COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A popular pageant held in the Fountain City for 74 years may not be returning.
The Miss Georgia Pageant may be moved some place else after the appointment of a new franchisee and lawsuits involving the Miss America Organization. A local director for the Miss Columbus Pageant says the franchisee decided that they’re not considering using Columbus.
“I think a lot of people think it’s just a pageant, it doesn’t matter. But this is the largest scholarship producer for young women in the whole world,” says Brenda Bryan, executive director of the Miss Columbus Pageant.
The old board of the MAO 2.0 lost their contract and franchise. Late last year, the former Miss Georgia Board of Directors was removed by the Miss America Organization. The former Miss Georgia board filed a lawsuit in New Jersey against the Miss America Organization asking for an injunction to allow them to put on state pageants as planned. The judge did not grant the restraining order. Local directors say it will be a major hit to the Columbus economy if the pageant doesn’t happen in the Columbus.
"With the tradition that I witnessed here, it’s kind of sad and it is very important to realize how much money is going to be gone. You know the pageant is a week long. You have to think about the hotel costs, the ticket purchases, and the Uptown attraction. The economy will be affected,” says Bryan.
She says there a number of partnerships that would be disconnected like the partnership between the Miss Georgia Pageant and Columbus State University as well as the RiverCenter. It’s still unclear if the pageant, normally held in June, will take place in Uptown Columbus.