HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Contestants in the 2017 Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant toured parts of Hattiesburg Tuesday as they continue to prepare for the pageant preliminaries and finals later this week.
The 25 contestants visited Forrest General Hospital and Main Street Books, where they painted bowls to be sold in a fundraising event for the Edwards Street Fellowship Center.
They later visited that center and put together food bags for needy families.
"I'm enjoying spending time with these girls this week and meeting new friends for a lifetime and to represent my city from Mississippi and learn great things about Mississippi," said Haley Smith, a contestant from Ellisville.
"It is such a unique opportunity to be able to grow and learn and to develop a deeper love for Mississippi with the best that Mississippi has to offer," said Emma Grace McGrew, another contestant from Booneville.
"Through the process, I've learned several Mississippi facts and things that will hopefully, help me be a better Neshoba County Miss Hospitality," said Taylor Phillips, a contestant from Neshoba County.
The pageant preliminaries will be held July 21 at the Saenger Theater.
The finals will be July 22, also at the Saenger Theater.
This is the 20th year that Hattiesburg has hosted the pageant.