By Maggie Wade
For the 47th year, young women have come Vicksburg, hoping to leave as the new Miss Mississippi. Forty-two representatives from around the state arrived at the Vicksburg Convention Center Sunday for the first full day of rehearsals.
The theme of this year's Miss Mississippi Scholarship Pageant is everyone's talking. The pageant is teaming up with Cellular South to give the public the chance to vote for their favorite contestant through text messaging.
Pageant Executive Director Dr. Briggs Hopson says "Now with cell phones being everywhere, we decided to do a show somewhat around that. And Cellular South, which is a Mississippi company, has given us the cell phones for the girls and we're going to actually announce the top 10 through cell phones."
Since June first, more than 800-thousand people have voted.
While other pageants are struggling to survive, Miss Mississippi is going into it's 47th year in Vicksburg.
Taryn Foshee, Miss Clinton, says "Oh it's so much fun. It's very exciting to get to come back and see all my friends again. Because all the girls are from all across the state."
Angela Allen, Miss Mid South says "Jessica Hill is a contestant in the pageant and she goes to school with me at nursing school and I probably wouldn't know her if it wasn't for this. We've made a very good friendship."
Mississippi still leads the rest of the nation in scholarship money. More than 130 thousand dollars will be awarded this year.
Kristian Dambrino, Miss Grenada County says "I haven't had to pay any money at all for my college education and so it definitely keeps me coming back."
Dr. Hopson adds "Jessica Sparks who's back this year for her third time, will be starting her junior year at Vanderbilt Medical School and she and I were talking this morning and she said I had to come back to see if i could get some more money to continue medical school."
There are representatives from eleven state colleges and universities. This is the goal;. to be crowned Miss Mississippi 2005.
Monday, to celebrate Independence Day, all 42 contestants will sing a patriotic song with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. That follows the traditional parade of contestants in downtown Vicksburg at 6 p-m.