Miss Virginia competition returns to Roanoke for 2021

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Miss Virginia 2021 will be crowned in the Star City this summer!

On Friday, April 16, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea and M.C. Gravely, Executive Director of the Miss Virginia Scholarship Organization, announced the pageant’s return to Roanoke, the event’s previous and longtime host city.

After the competition was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers says the 2021 Miss Virginia competition will take place June 17-19 at the Berglund Center.

“As Mayor of Roanoke, I am proud to welcome the Miss Virginia Competition back to our city,” said Lea during Friday’s news conference at the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building. “Beginning in 1953, Roanoke has hosted this event over the years and it is wonderful to see it return to its rightful place. I hope you will join me in welcoming the Miss Virginia Competition’s return to Berglund Center with great excitement and enthusiasm!”

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Berglund Center here in Roanoke, and, this will be the 66th year the Miss Virginia Competition has been held in Roanoke,” Gravely said. “With the Miss America Organization celebrating its centennial this year, it seems fitting that Miss Virginia returns to our traditional roots right here in Roanoke.”

Candidates from all over the Commonwealth will arrive in Roanoke the week of June 14 as they vie for the titles of Miss Virginia and Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen.

According to organizers, the preliminary competition will take place June 17, Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen 2021 will be crowned June 18, and the crowning of Miss Virginia 2021 will occur on June 19.

The winner of Miss Virginia 2021 will then advance to the Miss America competition, which will be broadcast live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later this year.

At the most recent Miss America competition, Miss Virginia 2019 Camille Schrier, a Virginia Tech graduate and VCU School of Pharmacy student, ended up taking home the crown for Miss America 2020.

Three other Miss Virginias have also gone on to win Miss America, including Miss America 1979 Kylene Barker, Miss America 1999 Nicole Johnson, and Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron.

After Schrier traded in her Miss Virginia sash for the Miss America one in 2019, Dot Kelly, a Shenandoah University Conservatory graduate completing a Master of Science in Performing Arts Leadership, assumed the Miss Virginia 2019 title, which she continued to serve throughout 2020.

“When I was 13, I watched my first Miss Virginia competition and became so inspired by the incredible young women I met and watched compete,” said Kelly. “Nothing means more to me than returning to the place that started this journey as Miss Virginia. This city, from Hotel Roanoke to Berglund Center is where it all began, and I am honored to return home to crown the next Miss Virginia.”

Morgan Rhudy, Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen 2019-2020 (Photo: Courtesy John Herzog via Miss Virginia Scholarship Organization)

Morgan Rhudy, Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen 2019-2020 — who is completing her freshman year at James Madison University — and Kelly joined Lea and Gravely for Friday’s announcement.

The Miss Virginia Scholarship Organization is reportedly working with its event partners in Roanoke to plan safe events for the candidates, their families and supporters, judges, volunteers, and guests. In addition, the events will follow guidance from the CDC the Virginia Department of Health, and local experts with regard to COVID-19 protocols, organizers say.

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