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Thousands of visitors come to Vicksburg for pageant week. Give them a reason to come back for more.

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eginning Saturday, the city of Vicksburg will be on display, as the 44 contestants and 135 prince and princesses arrive for the annual Miss Mississippi Pageant.

For 60 years, Vicksburg has played host to the event and staked its claim as Miss Mississippi’s hometown through its commitment and attention to growing the pageant into what it has become today.

All you need to do in order to realize just how big of a deal this event is and what it means to Vicksburg is to travel through downtown Vicksburg. You will see decorations in the windows, posters of some of the contestants on display and crowns painted at intersections throughout downtown.

Hotels are booked and restaurants are preparing for the rush of business. Retailers and boutiques are stocking up, preparing for those looking for items special to Vicksburg.

The Miss Mississippi Pageant is big business and it is good for business.

But it is an even bigger opportunity.

Next week, we roll out the biggest, brightest red carpet this Red Carpet City has in stock. It is also a week in which our Southern hospitality is on full display and tested.

For visitors, some whom have never had the chance — or a reason — to come to Vicksburg, they will see Vicksburg for the very first time. What will they see, what will they hear?

It is our hope they see Vicksburg at its best and meet our residents at their best. It is a time for the best in customer service, the best in maintained streets and parks.

No doubt exists that those attending the Miss Mississippi Pageant will receive a great experience at the Vicksburg Convention Center. They will see the best. The convention center team is made up of professionals, who have this pageant down pat.

Those of us who live in Vicksburg might not be on the Miss Mississippi staff, on the team at the Vicksburg Convention Center or own or operate a local store or restaurant. But, we are on the payroll next week.

Let us all make sure we give our visitors an experience to remember and a reason to come back to Vicksburg.