Springfield welcomes Miss Ohio USA pageant

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Friday and Saturday, our community will welcome 140 young women from all over the State of Ohio who will be vying for the title of 2016 Miss Ohio USA or Miss Teen Ohio USA.

The contestants — along with their families, friends and event staff — will comprise a group of nearly 2,000 visitors to Greater Springfield.

The pageants will bring approximately $500,000 in economic impact to our community through hotel room nights, dining in local restaurants, shopping at our retail stores and visiting our attractions.

And while this is obviously great news for our community, it may not be the biggest benefit of hosting this premier event.

From the moment we began negotiating with Proctor Productions (the event organizer) to host the pageant, it was evident that they had a very positive perception of our community and our event facilities. They raved about our “gorgeous” downtown, Clark State’s “fantastic” venues and the “beautiful” Courtyard by Marriott hotel. It was certainly refreshing to hear an outsider’s point of view on Springfield.

Pageant contestants and their families were recently in Springfield for event orientation. We had the opportunity to personally welcome them to Springfield, where the event will be held for the first time after a 12-year run in Portsmouth.

Following the orientation meeting, we were able to speak with contestants and their families one-on-one about everything our community has to offer. We again received incredibly positive feedback about Springfield. They are legitimately excited to be here and it shows.

As Greater Springfield’s destination marketing organization, we have the opportunity to hear this kind of positive reinforcement on a regular basis. Trust me when I tell you that visitors love our community. Their opinion is honest and genuine — and not weighed down by past history. They see what Springfield is today, and where we’re going.

No fewer than a dozen people attending the orientation told us — completely unprompted — that they couldn’t wait to get back here for the event, and planned to visit Springfield beyond the event to enjoy our local attractions. This, in essence, is the value of hosting events like Miss Ohio USA.

The Miss Ohio USA pageant offers us yet another opportunity to raise the perception of our community. I would be remiss in not thanking our many local partners who make hosting this event possible: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Courtyard by Marriott, Lee’s Famous Recipe, Sheehan Brothers Vending, Olive Garden, the event committee and our local hotels. From lodging and ticket sales, to staging and contestant meals, you are the driving force behind this event.

Please join us in providing a welcoming atmosphere to the contestants and their families. If you would like to attend the event, just visit Ticketmaster.com and enter “Miss Ohio” in the search box. Selling out both nights of the event would go a long way towards us retaining this event for years to come.

Schutte is Director of Visit Greater Springfield