August 9, 2021 –
Last week, Hattiesburg played host to 36 contestants in the Mississippi Miss Hospitality pageant. The ladies, representatives of their home cities and counties, explored local attractions like the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum and volunteered with Extra Table and Forrest General Hospital before ending the week with preliminary competitions at the Saenger Theatre.
At stake were the coveted Miss Hospitality crown and the position of Goodwill Ambassador for the state of Mississippi, along with over $100,000 in scholarship prizes.
The glitz and glam were on full display Saturday as the women took to the stage one last time for the final night of pageantry and competition. After three days of competition, Hattiesburg’s own Jane Granberry took the crown of Miss Hospitality 2021.
“I could not be more excited and ecstatic to be and serve as Miss Hospitality for this year,” said Granberry after her win. “I want to thank everyone that contributed to this opportunity. I also want to thank the City of Hattiesburg for sponsoring this event and for raising me to be the best person I could be. I can’t wait to hit the ground running and serve the state of Mississippi.”
Joining Granberry over the next year will be Hattiesburg Little Miss Bennett Blair Page, who said she was very excited.
While they didn’t win the top spot, the other representatives of the Pine Belt area also took home several awards. Grace Robbins, Petal’s Miss Hospitality, won a Top 3 Speech award, and Ellisville’s Keely Skellion won Most Photogenic at Friday’s preliminary show. In addition, Brinley Bullock of Laurel made the Top 10 at Saturday’s final performance.
The contestants themselves also selected Lamar County Miss Hospitality Addison Blair Dyess as the Lake Little Spirit of Hospitality winner.
“The Spirit of Hospitality award is named in memory of Lake Little, a former Miss Hospitality from Starkville, who passed away in 2019,” said Katie Dixion, an emcee for the 2021 pageant and a former Miss Hospitality herself. “It really encompasses everything that Miss Hospitality stands for, and it is a very big honor.”
Towards the end of the show, Dixon was the first to officially welcome McKay Lee Bray, Miss Hospitality 2020, into the “sisterhood” of former winners.
Bray said in her final statements that the Miss Hospitality organization helped her “grow as a person, experience incredible things and meet so many amazing people.”
She added, “Mississippi, thank you so much for allowing me to represent you through this unexpected year. Since I was a little girl, I’ve sung Faith Hill’s Mississippi Girl with my boots on. A year ago today, I traded in my boots for a crown. Mississippi, I love you, and I will always be your Mississippi Girl.”
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