Downtown merchants ready for pageant

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015


The shoes, dresses and jewelry are ordered and prepared, but if any of the pageant contestants or other visitors forget an accessory or need a late minute wardrobe change, downtown Vicksburg shops are preparing to meet those needs.

“We seem to sell a lot of our line of travel accessories that week,” Nancy Bullard of Sassafras said of the week during the Miss Mississippi Pageant, which begins Saturday with the arrival of the contestants. “That tends to be an item that is a good seller for people who are traveling because when they’re traveling they realize what they need, it’s on their mind.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Lurline Simmons at Crown to Heels has stocked her store with essentials for pageant week.

“So this would just be last minute, they forgot their swimsuit earrings when they were packing everything or they realized when they were laying all of their dresses out that they didn’t have a certain piece to go with it,” Simmons said.

Friends and family of the contestants purchase gifts for the girls and Simmons, along with many of the other downtown shops, offer free giftwrap and delivery of those gifts to the convention center.

“Most of the merchants up and down Main Street will offer free delivery,” Simmons said.

Seeing some of the same contestants year-after-year is like a reunion for Simmons. Getting to know those families is her favorite part of pageant week.

“I spend a lot of time communicating with the parents throughout the week,” Simmons said.

Norma Massey at Fredrick’s agreed, saying she looks forward to meeting the families and contestants. Fredrick’s will have sales going on next week and will be selling dancer’s tights in addition to their shoes.

“We order all the shoes for the contestants for the pageant,” Massey said.

First-year storeowner Shanon Shealy of The Dragonfly is anticipating how the pageant will affect her business. The store, which opened in February, has not experienced a pageant yet.

“I’m excited about the opportunity the pageant brings for the downtown merchants,” Sealy said. “I have no idea what to expect, but I’m looking forward to whatever it is.”

Holly Claborn, the new owner of Blush & Bashful is having a grand re-opening on Monday. She chose to have the reopening event during pageant week on purpose because of the increase in traffic. Claborn just got back from market and will have new inventory coming into the store.

“I’ve ordered a lot of extra dresses and we’ve got a lot of shoes coming in and jewelry,” Claborn said.

Karen Ruggles at The Cinnamon Tree prepares by setting up display tables in her store, showcasing jewelry and items with crowns and princesses on them. Ruggles has seen an increase in customers during pageant weeks in the past, and she participates in the free gift deliveries.

“The pageant is a great deal for Vicksburg and everybody involved,” Ruggles said.

Many merchants on Washington Street downtown will participate in an autograph party Thursday. Many of the contestants in this year’s Miss Mississippi pageant will participate in the autograph session that begins at 10:30 a.m.