(Hattiesburg, MS) – The Mississippi Miss Hospitality competition will officially open its at-large contestant application process on Dec. 6, 2019. Interested individuals who meet all other requirements and reside in a Mississippi community that does not currently have a local Miss Hospitality director or current local program are eligible to submit an application for at-large consideration. This year the competition will be held in Hattiesburg, MS in July 2020.
Now in its 71st year, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality program brings together Mississippi’s best and brightest young women for a week of leadership development as they ultimately compete for the state title. After a week of competition, one contestant is crowned as Mississippi’s goodwill ambassador for economic development and tourism. The winner of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality Competition travels the state and nation to promote Mississippi through ribbon cuttings, special tourism events, organized appearances, and speaking engagements.
“Our goal is to encourage representation of all 82 counties in this state competition. Two years ago, we introduced the at-large contestant program, and we have enjoyed hosting contestants from new communities that were not able to participate in the past. While the winner serves as the spokesperson for the entire state, all local contestants have the opportunity to serve their hometown areas throughout the year. The Miss Hospitality program provides an excellent platform for developing leadership skills and an appreciation for public service that Mississippi’s young women can also apply throughout their careers and other service projects,” Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG, said.
To be eligible, a Mississippi Miss Hospitality applicant must be a young woman between the ages of 18 and 24, a resident of Mississippi, a high school graduate and have a 2.5 or higher scholastic average. Additionally, she must represent her hometown, not the community where she attends college.
Women interested in competing as an at-large participant must submit an application to the State Office by March 6, 2020. The 2020 competition guide, contestant requirements, local directors list, and application can be found at MissHospitality.com. A panel will select contestants from the at-large candidate pool based upon a published scoring criterion.
“For more than 70 years, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality competition has championed Mississippi’s economic development and tourism sectors while supporting young women through strong scholarship offerings. In recent years, the program has seen tremendous growth in contestants, who now span the entirety of Mississippi. As this momentum continues, we know the knowledge, friendships, and skills these women gain during their time in Hattiesburg will lay a strong foundation for success as they return home and continue their education and honing their talents in Mississippi,” Kristen Brock, Programs and Promotions Director for VisitHATTIESBURG, said.
This year’s Mississippi Miss Hospitality competition will be held at the Historic Saenger Theater in Downtown Hattiesburg July 17-18, 2020. Ticket sales will be announced on the program’s Facebook page and website in late spring.
The Mississippi Miss Hospitality tradition began in 1949 under Gov. Fielding Wright and the Mississippi Legislature. Presented by the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission (VisitHATTIESBURG), City of Hattiesburg, University of Southern Mississippi, Forrest General Hospital, and Hattiesburg Saenger Theater, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality competition has called Hattiesburg home for 23 years.