HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The City of High Point is preparing to host the Miss North Carolina competition, an event that’s been in Raleigh since 1978.
At the 900 seat High Point Theater, crews have been adjusting the lights and checking the audio for the first major performance since the pandemic. David Briggs, the director of the High Point Theater, is thrilled live events are coming back.
“This is our first big public event since March 13, 2020,” Briggs said. “I got to see a lot of the crew for the first time this morning and it gave me goose bumps.”
The Miss North Carolina Competition is more than the crowning of a new Miss North Carolina. There are luncheons, dinners, community outreach and interviews.
“These young ladies have social outreach and they are working in their communities,” Briggs said. “It’s not just a pageant, these young ladies give back as much as they receive.”
To make sure everything runs on schedule, you need support. Melody Burnett is the president of Visit High Point. She pointed out that her talented staff is the reason why the Miss North Carolina competition is being held in High Point.
“We are a unique destination,” Burnett said. “We can extend our staff to become an extension of their staff and we roll out the red carpet and make them feel welcomed and like they are the only game in town.”
And with a welcoming atmosphere, the competition is bringing in 2,000 visitors.
“In fact, our hotels are at 65 percent occupancy which exceeds the May 2019 numbers which were 54 percent,” Burnett said. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand.”
Along with the Miss North Carolina competition, the High Point Theater is also hosting the Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen competition. Karlee Sanderford holds the title for 2019 and 2020. The pandemic canceled the 2020 competition. Sanderford used her extended time as Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen to advocate for a cause that means a lot to her.
“I’ve been able to travel the state of North Carolina, making appearances and spreading awareness about orphans around the world,” Sanderford said. “My sister and I were adopted from China.”
Sanderford got her crown in High Point and will turn over her title in the same auditorium on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a little bittersweet,” Sanderford said. “I had it for so long, I’m attached to it. It will be the end of an era for me and a new chapter will begin.”
While Sanderford is from eastern North Carolina, her extended title allowed her to get to know the people of High Point. So her next chapter will begin at High Point University in the fall.
The Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen competition begins on Thursday evening followed by the Miss North Carolina competition. A new Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen will be crowned on Saturday afternoon. The new Miss North Carolina will receive her title Saturday night.