Miss Alabama USA and Teen USA Pageants Bring Big Crowds to Montgomery

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By Brittany Bivins

Hundreds of people are in the Capital City this weekend for the Miss Alabama  USA and Miss Alabama Teen Usa pageants.  This is the third time the city has hosted the events, and organizers say it's a big economic boost for the city.

Yolanda Black traveled from Huntsville to support her daughter in the Miss Alabama USA pageant.

"I'm terribly excited. It's almost like the icing on the cake," said Black, who says she expects to spend some money while she's here.

"Right now in just a little bit, we're going to go get something to eat and we need to go shopping, and my daughter forgot her fuzzy wuzzy slippers, so I'm going to go and put those in her bag that we have to deliver to her room and make her day," Black said.

Pageant officials say for each contestant, there are usually about ten people coming to support them. That makes a big difference to downtown businesses like the Renaissance Hotel, where many contestants area staying.

"You'll see the break times when they break and the luncheon areas get full, and we are completely staffed up for all the meal periods this weekend because we're expecting a lot of business down here. I know downtown will also see a lot of business," said Renaissance General Manager Mike Eveleth.

The Miss Alabama USA and Teen USA pageants moved to Montgomery three years ago. Pageant officials say they considered many cities to host the event, but  Montgomery stood out.

"Just coming here and seeing the venue and meeting everyone at the CVB, it was like I really want to be here. I hope that you want us here, and they have embraced us," said Paula Miles, the pageants' executive director.

For businesses, it's not just about the hundreds of people who will stay here this weekend, but about the name recognition an event like this can bring.

"We see them come back quite a bit, and it's a very good thing for us," Eveleth said.

The winner of the pageants will go on to compete for the 2014 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA crowns.




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