UPDATE: Miss Mississippi pageant begins

VICKSBURG — Forty-seven contestants begin preliminary competition Wednesday in the 2009 Miss Mississippi pageant.

The event is being held at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

The winner, who will represent the state at Miss America on Jan. 20 in Las Vegas, will be crowned Saturday night after three nights of preliminaries focusing on talent, evening wear, on-stage question and swimsuit.

Since 1993, the state program has given out $1.9 million in scholarships. This year alone there will be $112,000 in cash scholarships and $455,123 for in-kind (tuition) scholarships.

The 2008 Miss Mississippi, Christine Kozlowski, will crown the winner.

The Associated Press