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Miss America, Miss Mississippi competitions postponed until 2021

Friday, the Miss America Organization announced it was postponing its annual competition to late in 2021.

This will mark the first time since the competition returned in 1935 that it will be postponed. Concerns and restrictions connected to the spread of the COVID-19 virus forced the decision.

“As we all know, this moment in our history is one that will change the course of many programs, businesses and institutions, and the Miss America Organization is not alone in navigating these challenges,” Miss America Organization board Chairwoman Shantel Krebs said. “At this time, as an organization, our greatest concern is to make sure the thousands of people who are involved in or volunteer for our program are safe. This coming year will be our 100th anniversary for this iconic American institution, and we want to make sure that we take the time to ensure our annual broadcast and the surrounding experiences reflect our time-honored tradition.”

Also, organizers with the Miss Mississippi Corporation announced there will not be an Oustanding Teen or Miss Mississippi Competition this year. The Outstanding Teen pageant will return in April 2021, while the next Miss Mississippi Competition will be held in June 2021.

“This is a relief,” Miss Mississippi Corporation board chairman David Blackledge said. “After postponing and postponing, trying to make things happen, it just got to a point where it was time to say ‘let’s move forward.’

“Everybody has been in limbo for so long and we were continuing to stay in limbo,” he said, “And it was time to make a final decision and I commend them (Miss America Organization) for a decision. They have been very diligent and wise in going through this process.”

By postponing the competition until 2021, Miss Mississippi Mary Margaret Hyer will remain Miss Mississippi.

“Miss America said we could contact our state titleholders and see if they were willing or could serve another year,” Blackledge said, adding that Hyer agreed.

As with Miss Mississippi, Blackledge said, local titleholders will also have the opportunity to stay on, and for those who would be aging out this year, the Miss America Corporation is extending the age limit by one year.

New dates for the Miss Mississippi Competition are scheduled for June 23-26, 2021. The new date for the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen will be April 23-25, 2021.

The shockwaves of Friday’s announcements by the Miss America Organization and the Miss Mississippi Corporation were felt all the way to downtown Vicksburg, where many retailers enjoy peak sales around the time of the Miss Mississippi and teen pageants.

It is also another hit to Vicksburg’s tourism economy that had already been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we are disappointed that we won’t be welcoming the participants, their families, and supporters to Vicksburg, the safety of our visitors is our biggest priority,” Vicksburg Visitors and Convention Bureau executive director Laura Beth Strickland said. “We look forward to the 2021 competition.”

According to data from the Vicksburg Convention Center, the venue that plays host to the annual Miss Mississippi and teen pageants, the Miss Mississippi Competition alone means more than $2.3 million to Vicksburg’s economy.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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