Miss Michigan USA and Miss Michigan Teen USA contestants will grace the stage at McMorran Place once again on Friday and Saturday.
This is the 16th year the competition will be held in Port Huron, and Melissa Pitchford, executive director for Miss Michigan USA and Miss Michigan Teen USA, said the city is a great place for the competition.
“We just feel like we’re family there,” she said.
Miss Michigan USA contestants will compete in evening gown and swimsuit, while Miss Michigan Teen USA contestants will compete in evening gown and active wear. Contestants will also participate in interviews that are held before the competition on Friday, and the top five contestants will be asked on-stage questions on Saturday before the winners are crowned. Winners go on to participate in the national competitions.
“(Attendees are) going to get the opportunity to celebrate with these young women,” Pitchford said.
Last year’s Miss Michigan Teen USA winner was Marysville native Kenzie Weingartz, who is studying finance at Oakland University. The competition was the first of its kind for her, and she went on to compete in Miss Teen USA on July 29 and 30 in Phoenix, Arizona.
“I was just happy to be representing the state of Michigan,” she said.
Weingartz said she thinks anyone who is interested and meets the qualifications should participate.
“It’s important to step our of your comfort zone and take a chance because you never know what can come out of it,” she said.
Pitchford said the competition is a first career step for a lot of contestants.
“So many careers and so many experiences have happened on that stage,” she said.
For example, one of the Miss Michigan USA winners went on to start Shefit Apparel, and this year’s teen contestants will wear active wear from the line.
The competition was bought in 2015 by IMG from Donald Trump, and Pitchford said it has transitioned since then.
“Their real focus is the confidence and growth and career paths for young women,” she said.
Winners help to further Miss USA’s platform, which is breast and ovarian cancer awareness. The Miss Michigan branches of the competition work with the Pink Ribbon Girls, an organization that helps cancer patients make food, get to appointments and clean their houses.
“It’s not about the research, it’s about the day-to-day,” Pitchford said.
While there’s nothing new in the competition this year, McMorran has been renovated since last year. This will add to the atmosphere of the event, which brings a lot of people to Port Huron and boosts the economy, according to Marci Fogal, president of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“There’s just so much to offer, and it’s all in walking distance of McMorran,” she said.
The competition moved to Ann Arbor for a year but came back to Port Huron because of its charm, hospitality, proximity to the water and small-town feel, Fogal said.
“They have the full attention of the city of Port Huron,” she said.
Tickets for the event range from $40 to $65 and can be bought on ticketmaster.com, through missmichiganusa.com, or at the McMorran Place box office. Friday’s presentation show will start at 7:30 p.m., and the final show and competition will take place 5 p.m. Saturday.
Contact Grace Turner at (810) 989-6276 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @gracempturner
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