Convention center made over as contestants move in

Published 10:05 am Monday, June 19, 2017

For 51 weeks out of the year, the room serves as a storage space for the Vicksburg Convention Center, but for one week the clutter is replaced with glitz and glamour as the room is transformed into the dressing room for Miss Mississippi constants.

“The dressing room that we use is a storeroom for the convention center,” Miss Mississippi dressing room coordinator Michelle Cocarro said. “They have to completely clean everything out prior to us getting there. We started Wednesday afternoon and we brought in 44 mirrors, set up tables, we have to run power cords, power strips, extension cords, and just totally redo the room for us.”

Everything the contestants need for the week was moved into the dressing room by their parents and pageant directors Sunday morning with help from Boy Scout Troops 102 and 638. Troop 102 has assisted with the move in for more than 30 years.

“We help the parents move the girls’ dresses and things into the dressing room Sunday morning and after lunch we help them move their gear into the La Quinta for their stay,” Troop 102 assistant scout master Paul Eagle said.

The 44 girls are each given a very limited amounted of space and have to be judicious about how much they bring along and staying organized throughout the week.

“It is very cramped,” Miss Hinds Community College Abigail Walters who is participating in the pageant for the second time said. “I have to get a set of drawers that I put under the table to put all my belongings in. We hang all of our shoes on the top of the mirror so that doesn’t take up space, and we bring another light and try to make do with what space we have.”

The girls are each provided with a small table and mirror and about a foot’s worth of space on one of the 15 hanging racks. That space quickly becomes filled with all that is needed for the week.

“It is a lot of stuff. I have maybe 14 or 15 different outfits for during the week,” Walters said. “We have t-shirts everyday and shoes, swimsuit and making sure we have all the jewelry and makeup that we need to have for during the week.”

The girls were each assigned to a station and have to work to stay within its confines throughout the week.

“With 44 girls, there will be no space for anything extra,” Cocarro said. “We tell them at orientation to try to limit as much as possible, don’t bring 15 gowns thinking if I don’t like this one I’ll wear another one tonight.

“We have to label each area for the girls, where their stuff goes, so their stuff is specifically in one spot as close to where their station is located.”

Their parents moved them in Sunday morning, but it was the girls’ responsibility to make sure they were all set up and ready to go in time for the first rehearsal Sunday afternoon.

“I definitely know what to expect this year,” Walters said. “Last year, I don’t think I was prepared or ready to experience what was going on, especially back stage. I am definitely more prepared this year and I’m more excited about it.”