"It's real important when we have an opportunity to highlight our community and clearly this a very important event, not only in our community but for our state," said Bruce Thompson, chairman of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce. "With any event, obviously, there is expenses, so from a chamber perspective there's a whole lot of businesses that are affected by having this here, positively affected.
"So I would encourage the businesses in the community to support ... any event like this but this particularly because it's a very important event. Think about it, around the country there is only one per state and they picked our [county]."
In its sixth year of hosting the pageants, the CVB is expecting to see a 7-to-1 return on its annual investment, with the contests anticipated to have more than a $200,000 economic impact on Bartow County. CVB officials also believe Cartersville will continue to reap the financial benefits for years to come. Through publicity that the event will generate and introducing the contestants and their families to county attractions, the CVB looks to promote return visitation. On average, each overnight visitor in Georgia spends $112, which includes expenses, such as lodging, meals, gas and tourist sites.
Charged with raising nearly $20,000, the CVB is seeking sponsorships, financial contributions and in-kind donations to help cover the costs. The top expenditures for the pageants -- Nov. 15 to 17 at Cartersville's Woodland High School Performing Arts Center -- will include renting the theater, supplying transportation and providing meals to the contestants, which will cost about $6,700, $5,000 and $5,000, respectively.
To generate funding, six sponsorship packages, which start at $150, are available. Offered for $1,500 each, the official supplier packages are seeking one sponsor in the categories of transportation, jeweler, welcome dinner and tickets.
"We are really just in the beginning stages [with our pageant sponsorship drive]," said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for the local CVB. "We've prepared the package and have sent that out. It's a $20,000 event and money spent stays here in Bartow County. It goes toward transportation costs -- moving the contestants back and forth between the host hotel, which is Holiday Inn, and Woodland theater and then various other locations that they need to stop or have an event at -- as well as the meals. We have to cover all of the backstage meals for the contestants, feeding them two meals a day.
"Then [it goes toward] theater rental as well at the Woodland theater. These are costs that do stay within Bartow County. ... So it's all money that comes back into our economy. It [also] brings a lot of people in. It's not as large an event say as the Steeplechase, but in terms of a statewide event, it is direct exposure for multiple days -- really giving families an opportunity to come and experience our community."
In addition to the CVB generating financial support for the pageants, potential contestants can apply to the Miss Georgia USA and Miss Georgia Teen USA program. Posted on www.MissGeorgiaUSA.com, some of the criteria includes being a United States citizen, a resident of Georgia and a single female who has never been married or had a child. As of Feb. 1, 2013, contestants need to be between the ages of 18 and 26 for the Miss Georgia USA contest and between the ages of 14 and 18 for the Miss Georgia Teen USA.
In the pageants, contestants will be evaluated equally in three categories: interview, swimsuit and evening wear. The winner of the Miss Georgia USA competition will advance to the Miss USA pageant, the precursor to Miss Universe. The Miss Georgia Teen USA winner will compete in the Miss Teen USA pageant.
For more information about the pageants or to obtain details about sponsorships or volunteering, individuals need to contact Wheeler at the CVB, 770-387-1357, or visit www.visitcartersvillega.org.