Covington County’s Miss Hospitality Leah Graves joins 27 contestants competing for the title of Miss Hospitality.
The 67th annual Miss Hospitality Pageant will be held July 22 and 23 at the Historic Saenger Theater in Downtown Hattiesburg.  Graves will leave for Hattiesburg on Sunday, July 17 and participate in a week of activities OKand competition leading up to the final two days of the pageant.
This year, as the Pageant celebrates 67 years of hospitality and grace, as Mississippi’s best and brightest young ladies take the stage to compete for the 2016 title – a title that comes with a ticket to travel thousands of miles promoting the state’s economic development and tourism programs.
Graves is a graduate of Seminary High School and currently attends William Carey University.  She is a member of Gamma Chi Sorority and is on the President’s List.  Graves is majoring in nursing and plans to attend the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
She is the daughter of Neil and Kristen Graves of Seminary.  She is the granddaughter of Rev. Jerry and Jackie McRaney of Collins and Lou Graves and the late Roy and Mary Graves of Collins.
Graves said she is looking forward to competing for the title.
“Excited is an understatement for how I feel,” she said.  “I have such peace as I go to represent Covington County.  I have done my part in preparation.  I just pray for whatever is God’s will to be done.”
She has worked tirelessly getting ready for the pageant.
“I have simply taken adavntage of every opportunity I have had to practice hospitality,” she said.  “I’ve spent time with our county’s children, traveled all over our state to experience tourist attractions for myself and learned fine, delicate details of my home.  I’ve also studied until the wee hours of the morning and stood to answer mock interview questions without fear.”
Naturally, Graves is looking forward to getting to Hattiesburg to compete.
“Although my favorite outfit is my destination costume, I’m just going and representing  my home which- is enough excitment for me,” she said.  “For all those who have helped me and supported me, I’m forever grateful to go and accomplish my goals.  It brings me so much joy.”
During the Pageant Week, contestants will explore Hattiesburg, attend social events, and participate in rehearsals and competitions, all leading up to the crowning of the 2016 Mississippi Miss Hospitality. Guests of this year’s pageant will experience a night filled with excitement throughout the production and discover why Miss Hospitality has been celebrated throughout the state since 1949.
Tickets to the 2016 Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant may be purchased by calling the Saenger Theater Box Office at 601.584.4888, or online at
The Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant is a program of VISITHATTIESBURG™, is presented by VISITHATTIESBURG™ and the Mississippi Development Authority, in conjunction with Forrest General Hospital, The University of Southern Mississippi and the City of Hattiesburg. For more information about the Pageant, contact the State Pageant Office at 601.268.3220 or  Additional Pageant information can be found online at