Chamber sponsoring Miss Hospitality Pageant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 11, 2001

On April 7 the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce will host the area’s first Miss Hospitality pageant in several years – an event local officials say will have a positive impact on contestants and Natchez as a whole.

&uot;We feel like it’s going to allow Natchez to have more exposure throughout the state,&uot; said pageant organizer Jane Kingsafer.

Tourism Director Walter Tipton noted that other towns and counties throughout the state currently have such pageants. &uot;I think it will be terrific, because it would give us another person to represent Natchez and southwest Mississippi,&uot; he said.

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&uot;Anything that promotes the town like that and gives girls an opportunity to compete and represent Natchez, … you can’t go wrong with it,&uot; Mayor Hank Smith said.

Unmarried women ages 18 to 24 who have at least a 2.5 grade point average and have not had children can apply to enter the pageant. Entrants can pick up applications at the chamber office starting Wednesday and should return the forms by April 3, Kingsafer said.

The Natchez pageant will serve as a preliminary to the state contest set for July 22-28 in Hattiesburg. The Natchez event will be interview-only; the state pageant will include interviews, black dress and evening gown competitions.

Contestants in the state pageant will be required to make 90-second speeches on how they would promote Mississippi if chosen. Each participant will also develop a 20-second commercial promoting her hometown or county. &uot;And the winner of the state pageant must transfer to an in-state university&uot; after winning the contest, Kingsafer said.

The hard work contestants put into their pageant performances is worth it, said Kingsafer, who has competed in several pageants herself. &uot;For one thing, you get to meet so many other wonderful girls from so many different places,&uot; Kingsafer said. &uot;And they gain self-confidence and poise from participating in pageants like these and from watching the other girls and learning from them,&uot; she said.