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91st annual Miss Mississippi competition underway in Vicksburg

Vivian O'Neal won the Miss Mississippi competition in 2023 (Photo courtesy of Vivian O'Neal)

39 pageant contestants have gathered in Vicksburg as the 91st annual Miss Mississippi competition is officially underway.

Wednesday was the first night of preliminary rounds with Miss Mississippi State Morgan Nelson winning the evening wear category and Miss Madison County Gracie Bassett winning the talent category. Preliminaries will continue Thursday and Friday nights with candidates competing for the crown being judged on private interviews, health and fitness, and on-stage questions.

Come Saturday night, the 10 contestants with the best overall scores will take the stage with just one being sent to compete in Miss America 2024.

“We have a wonderful history with a great track record at Miss America, and it’s such a great testament to the contestants who compete every year,” said Ashley Thompson, who competed in Miss Mississippi from 2003-2007 and now helps produce the competition.

“This year, we have 39 of Mississippi’s brightest and best young women. They are talented, intelligent, beautiful, and well-spoken. No matter who the judges select, we will have a great candidate at Miss America.”

So far this week, Vicksburg has been all Miss Mississippi with rehearsals, autograph signings, and of course, the competition itself. According to Austin Crabtree, a Miss Mississippi Board member, Vicksburg has played a vital role in helping Miss Mississippi grow into one of the best state pageants in the U.S.

“This pageant means everything,” Crabtree said. “The city of Vicksburg needs Miss Mississippi, and Miss Mississippi needs Vicksburg. It works both ways.”

Vicksburg, which has played host to Miss Mississippi for the last 67 years, has benefitted greatly from the pageant. Between 2022 and 2023, nearly $1.5 million in hotel revenue was generated during pageant week with the overall economic impact for the city landing close to $3 million.

If you want to attend Miss Mississippi 2024, tickets are $40 for Thursday’s 7 p.m. preliminary and $50 for Friday’s 7 p.m. preliminary and Saturday’s 8 p.m. crowning. There is a waiting list for the final night, but Crabtree encourages people to add their names in case someone with tickets can’t attend. All events are held at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

If you’d like to tune in from home, preliminary rounds can be live streamed here with the Saturday’s portion of the event being broadcast on WDAM, WTOK, WLOX, WLBT, WTVA, and WMC.

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