"The reason we decided [to renew our contract] is this past year we really did track expenditures and found that we have at least a 7-to-1 guaranteed return on the local economy with the money that is spent," Archer said. "[For the survey] we actually got hotel room receipts.
"It is an expensive venture, but we could spend the same thing on an advertisement in a magazine and not know if we ever received a dime. ... I've always thought it's [a] good [investment] because we know our best market is Georgians, and it brings people here from all over the state -- people that have money to spend -- twice a year."
Along with the pageants on Nov. 17 to 19 at Cartersville's Woodland High School Performing Arts Center having an immediate economic impact, CVB officials also believe Cartersville will continue to reap the 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 $19,350, the CVB is seeking sponsorships, financial contributions and in-kind donations to help cover the costs. The top expenditures will include renting the WHS' Performing Arts Center, supplying transportation and providing meals to the contestants, which will cost about $6,700, $5,400 and $5,000, respectively.
To generate funding, the CVB is unveiling six sponsorship packages, ranging from $150 to $2,000. In addition to the basic sponsorships, there also are four special bid packages, three of which start at $1,500. One of these "special" offerings is the Official Jeweler Miss Georgia USA and Miss Georgia Teen USA, where the top bidding jeweler would be able to design a gift for the titleholders.
"We are certainly seeking sponsorships now," said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for the local CVB. "We are rolling out our sponsorship packages this year. There are a lot of new opportunities that we are sharing with the community that we hope [will interest] businesses that have very small budgets to those that have opportunities to really market and promote their products to a statewide audience. It is a rather affluent audience and a good target for a lot of businesses. So we are rolling out packages we think that are going to fit a lot of budgets this year. We really need the community's support. It is a big effort to host this pageant."
Along with gathering financial support for the pageants, it also is time for potential contestants to start applying in hopes of becoming the next Miss Georgia USA and Miss Georgia Teen USA. 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, 2012, 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: personal 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.
"I have not participated myself, but just from being on the sidelines and seeing what the contestants experience, it is just a fun three days," Wheeler said. "It's a great opportunity to just really give your best, to shine, to express yourself. It's an opportunity to win scholarships. ... For the teen competition, for those that are kind of just beginning, I think it's just a real good time to meet other girls from across the state and to be motivated to really do your best in everything that you do.
"We always have a guest speaker at the welcome dinner. Her name is Dale Thomas, and she just really is a great speaker. I've always said that, 'I would love for every teen girl in Bartow County to be able to come and to experience her and hear what she has to say and what she has to share, because this really is about setting a goal, living out a dream. And I think every teen girl, and guy for that matter, needs to be inspired to do that."
For further details about the pageants or to obtain more information about sponsorships, volunteering or providing in-kind donations, individuals need to contact Wheeler at the CVB, 770-387-1357.