Vicksburg will not be represented in Miss Miss. pageant|[02/26/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It’s too late this year to hold a Miss Vicksburg Pageant, but executives at the Miss Mississippi Corporation are persisting in their search for a director to renew the contest next year.

Contestants already selected for the 2008 Miss Mississippi pageant will be in Vicksburg this weekend for an orientation seminar, making it too late for a local pageant to send its winner to the state competition for a shot at Miss America. That means for the first time in at least 50 years, none of them will wear a “Miss Vicksburg” sash.

David Blackledge, executive director of the state organization, said the Miss Mississippi Corporation is still seeking a person or group to sponsor next year’s Miss Vicksburg and Miss Outstanding Teen Vicksburg pageants.

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“We’ve already gotten somebody that has expressed an interest,” Blackledge said. Since any formal agreement is still pending, Blackledge said it would be wrong to release names.

When longtime organizers Bill and Alene Thornton retired from the Miss Vicksburg Pageant at the end of last year’s event, pageant corporation directors began looking for a replacement.

Sponsoring a local pageant requires putting up a scholarship prize of at least $250 and paying a $375 franchise fee to the Miss Mississippi Corporation.

Blackledge said the Miss Vicksburg Pageant dates back to at least 1958, when the Miss Mississippi pageant was first held here.

“It’s the only time we’re aware of it hasn’t been held,” he said. “It’s disappointing obviously. We’re the host city.”

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 45 local pageant winners will be in Vicksburg at orientation for the Miss Mississippi Pageant scheduled in Vicksburg for June 24-28. They will be joined by contestants for Miss Outstanding Teen Mississippi and local pageant directors.