The Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant week is underway in Hattiesburg.
Events this week will lead up to competition Friday and Saturday nights, starting at 8:00, at Saenger Theater.
The pageant winner will help the state's tourism and development arm in spreading the word about Mississippi's charms.
Ashley Neal, Miss Lauderdale County, and Amber Spann, Miss Meridian, are part of the 2012 program.
Neal and Spann are among 35 contestants, age 18-24, who will spend the week attending volunteer events, meeting with local and state tourism and political officials.
Nearly $100,000 in scholarships, cash and prizes will be awarded.
Neal is the daughter of William Neal and Nancy Shelton. Spann is the daughter of Lorenda Spann and Mark Spann.