Lexi Cobbs will represent DeSoto County in the 70th Mississippi Miss Hospitality competition at the Historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater in Downtown Hattiesburg on July 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. each evening. 

Cobbs is an honor graduate of DeSoto Central High School, where she was a part of the Hall of Fame. She also served as captain of the Debate and Knowledge Bowl teams. Cobbs is president of the Cultural Enthusiast Organization and hopes to study policy analysis at the University of Richmond.

In its 22nd year as host city, Hattiesburg will showcase this year’s best and brightest young women as they compete for the title of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality.

Forty-four women, who represent all regions of the state, will vie for the title of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality, with the winner serving for a full year as the state’s official ambassador for economic development and tourism.

In 2018, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition added a Little Miss Hospitality component, which encourages local representatives to serve as a mentor throughout her reign to a young girl from her hometown between the ages of six and 10. Returning this year, the program allows Little Misses to appear on stage during competition and participate in official events. If crowned the next Mississippi Miss Hospitality, the contestant’s Little Miss will serve alongside her as she fulfills her duties and responsibilities as Mississippi’s Goodwill Ambassador.

Representing DeSoto County as a Little Miss Hospitality is Charlotte Gibbs.

“Tourism is the front door to our state and economic development is the backbone,” said Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG. “For 70 years, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality program has championed these economic sectors while supporting the state’s best and brightest young women through a scholarship program. As the contestants, along with their friends, family and Little Miss participants travel to Hattiesburg, we are eager to welcome them and showcase our city.”

Throughout competition week in Hattiesburg, contestants will attend social events, participate in community service projects and attend rehearsals and competitions. The public is invited to meet the contestants at the Miss Hospitality autograph party at Turtle Creek Mall on Friday, July 26 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition is presented by the Mississippi Development Authority, University of Southern Mississippi, the City of Hattiesburg, Hattiesburg Saenger Theater and Forrest General Hospital. Sponsorships and patrons allow the program to annually award more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to participants.

“Hattiesburg is delighted to be in its 22nd year as host city of this statewide program, which promotes ambassadorship in tourism and economic development,” said Kristen Brock, Miss Hospitality program coordinator. “Each year, we have a talented group of young female leaders participating in Miss Hospitality who eagerly await the opportunity to showcase their love for their hometowns and for Mississippi.”

Anna McDaniel was crowned 2018’s Mississippi Miss Hospitality last July. During her reign, McDaniel has traveled the state, region and nation promoting her home state of Mississippi. McDaniel, a native of Meridian, is a mass communications major at William Carey University.

Every year, the state Miss Hospitality program generates approximately $450,000 in economic impact for the local Hattiesburg economy. During Miss Hospitality week, visitors stay in area hotels, dine in local restaurants, enjoy tourist attractions and shop at local retail locations.

Guests will enjoy entertaining productions on both Friday and Saturday evenings during the competition. Vocal and dance performances by contestants and local groups, including the Forrest General Spirit Girls, will provide festivities for both evenings. The finale is set for Saturday evening at 8 p.m., when the top 10 contestants will compete for the title.

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