It’s not June in Muskegon without the crowning of a new Miss Michigan at the Frauenthal Theater.
On Wednesday and Thursday, contestants from across the state will compete in preliminaries at both the Miss Michigan level and the Outstanding Teen level. On Friday, Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen finalist will be named. The following night, Miss Michigan 2010 will be crowned. For 60 years, Muskegon has been home to the pageant that chooses the lucky young woman who goes on to compete to be Miss America, said Shelley Taylor, state executive director of the Miss Michigan program. “It’s always been held in Muskegon,” Taylor said. “There are many local businesses that help support us. The Holiday Inn houses us pro bono. ... It’s all about community.” But the community also benefits from hosting the pageant and being home to the Miss Michigan organization, said Jill Emory, a Miss Michigan board member and director of tourism for the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Pageant week is a whole week, the 12th through the 20th,” Emory said. “We have these lovely young ladies and their families in our community for a week. ... They stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants and fill up at our gas stations.” But the economic impact goes beyond one week in June, she said. The Miss Michigan organization brings contestants here throughout the year, the reigning Miss Michigan lives with a Muskegon host family and then there’s just the exposure the area gets from the pageant, she said.