Junior Miss boosts
Meridian's economy

By By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
August 1, 2004
Forty-one Mississippi Junior Miss competitors have been in Meridian for nearly a week, and so have their mothers, sisters, grandpas and uncles in short, the girls brought carloads of supporters with them.
The Junior Miss Program may not descend on Meridian with the same fervor as events like State Games, but the scholarship program does change the city's atmosphere.
The Junior Miss Program in Mississippi began in the early 1960s, Grabert said, and Meridian has been its home since 1963.
The Junior Miss participants have had little free time during their stay in Meridian. Until the preliminary and final competitions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the girls were busy with rehearsals, interviews and sight-seeing.
With what little free time was available, some participants were able to do a bit of shopping.
Robert Loeb, owner of Loeb's clothing shop on Front Street, said he and his employees began noticing Junior Miss participants in the store last summer.
Loeb said he hasn't done any special advertising directed at those involved with Junior Miss.
The 41 competitors from across the state stay with host families, so it is usually the girls' parents and family members who patronize businesses in Meridian.

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