7:05 p.m.: The doors to the Bill Heard Theatre have opened as audience members start finding their seats. But people are still milling around the lobby, calling out names of friends whom they may not have seen since last year.
Others are looking and making final bids on the silent auction items that line the lobby area. Still others are looking at souvenirs. Some are buying ducks for the first "Quack" Race that's going to start at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center.
Miss Georgia's final night of its preliminary competitions begins tonight in the Bill Heard Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday night, Miss Georgia 2012 Leighton Jordan gives up her crown to the new Miss Georgia 2013. At the same time, Georgia's Outstanding Teen Jameson Kenerly gives up her crown to the new Georgia's Outstanding Teen.
Thursday night, Miss Heart of the City, Mary Ashley Tucker, and Miss Historic Southern Plains, Amarinda Trear, tied in swimsuit. They each won $250 scholarships. Miss Whitewater, Katherine McCauley, won talent, singing "Kiss Me in the Rain." She won a $500 scholarship.
In Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Greater Atlanta's Teen, Elizabeth "Lizzy" K. Stanford, 14, of Cuthbert, Ga., won fitness. Cobb County's Outstanding Teen, Abby Quarles, 16, of Marietta, Ga., won talent, dancing a ballet en pointe to "La Bayadere."
Wednesday night, Miss Hummingbird Festival, Courtney N. Hinesley of Grayson, Ga., won the preliminary swimsuit competition. She won a $250 scholarship. Miss Fulton County, Gabrielle S. Booth of Snellville, Ga., won the preliminary talent competition singing "Vissi D'Arte." She won a $500 scholarship.
In Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Marietta's Outstanding Teen, Kelly E. Hutchinson, 15, of Marietta, Ga., won the preliminary fitness competition. There was a tie in the preliminary talent competition. The co-winners were Historic Southern Plains' Outstanding Teen, Taylor L. Peterson, 17, of Kathleen, Ga., who played "The Black Pearl" on the piano and Southeast Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Caitlan Coleman, 17, of Meeks, Ga., who tapped to "Valerie."
The 40 Miss Georgia contestants compete in three groups.
The Mu Group competes in the evening wear and onstage question & answer tonight. Miss Macon, Amanda D. Scott, 21, of Lincolnton, Ga., goes to the Georgia Institute of Technology, majoring in public policy and business. Her platform is Choosing Miracles Now with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
Miss Apple Capitol, Tara R. Clance, 22, of Ellijay, Ga., goes to Belmont University, majoring in international politics and Asian studies. Her platform is Celebrating Cultural Diversity.
Miss Rome, Cierra Dena'e Jackson, 21, of Columbus, goes to Spelman College, majoring in political science. Her platform is Violent Valor: A Partnership with the USO and Joining Forces.
Miss Hummingbird Festival, Courtney N. Hinesley, 18, of Grayson, Ga., goes to Georgia Regents University, majoring in nursing. Her platform is Let's Get it Straight: Scoliosis Awareness and Early Detection.
Miss Emanuel County, Kaidy L. English, 19, of Swainsboro, Ga., goes to East Georgia State College, majoring in early childhood education. Her platform is Coming Out of You Shell: Building Self-Confidence in Young Girls.
Miss Cumming Fair, Katie L. Grego, 19, of LaGrange, Ga., goes to Columbus State University, majoring in physics and geology. Her platform is Seize the Moment: Raising Awareness for Epilepsy.
Miss Columbus State University, Katelyn Pawlowski, 20, of Midland, Ga., goes to Columbus State University, majoring in business management. Her platform is Do You See What I See? Giving the Gift of Sight.
Miss River City, Teresa F. Davis, 22, of Hoschton, Ga., goes to the University of Georgia, majoring inb digital and broadcast journalism and Spanish. Her platform is Five Star Families: Supporting and Honoring Our Military and Their Families.
Miss Fountain City, Amanda M. Lawler, 21, of Santa Claus, Ga., goes to Valdosta State University, majoring in communication arts. Her platform is Dyslexia Is My Gift.
Miss Troup County, Hayley N. Henderson, 23, of Columbus, goes to Columbus State University, majoring in communication and marketing. Her platform is March of Dimes: Spreading Awareness That One Day All Babies Will Be Born Healthy By Preventing Birth Defects, Premature Births and Infant Mortality.
Miss Altamaha, Kayla E. Kirkland, 18, of Millen, Ga., goes to the University of Georgia, majoring in pharmacy. Her platform is Childhood Hunger.
Miss Conyers Cherry Blossom, Lauren F. Edmunds, 24, of Americus, Ga., goes to the University of Georgia, majoring in furnishings and interiors. Her platform is Breast Cancer: Fighting the Fear.
Miss Clermont, Lia Racanelli, 23, of Athens, Ga., goes to the University of Georgia, majoring in publication management and printmaking. Her platform is Silence the Cycle: Intimate Partner Violence Awareness and Prevention.
Miss Whitewater, Katherine McCauley, 20, of Marietta, Ga., goes to Kennesaw State University, majoring in theater and communications. Her platform is the Children's Miracle Network hospitals.
The Gamma Group competes in swimsuit tonight.
Miss Cobb County, Maggie Bridges, 20, of Brinson, Ga.
Miss Shorter University, Merrilee J. LaVilla, 20, of Acworth, Ga.
Miss Fulton County, Gabrielle S. Booth, 22,of Snellville, Ga.
Miss Gwinnett County, Shelby L. Rice, 22, of Columbus.
Miss Valdosta State University, Sara E. Whetsell, 21, of Thomasville, Ga.
Miss Statesboro High School, Madison D. Phillips, 18, of Statesboro, Ga.
Miss Columbus, Willietta T. Grant, 23, of Columbus.
Miss South Central Georgia, Courtney J. Walker, 22, of Bonaire, Ga.
Miss Cherokee Rose, Kristy W. Miller, 22, of Atlanta.
Miss Atlanta, Carly M. Mathis, 22, of Leesburg, Ga.
Miss University of Georgia, Jenna L. Jackson, 23, of Fayetteville, Ga..
Miss Georgia Southern University, Reedi M. Hawkins, 21, of Albany, Ga.
Miss Southeast Georgia, Colleen A. Stafford, 21, of St. Simons Island, Ga.
The Alpha Group competes in talent tonight. Miss Warner Robins, Charlene M. Bibeau, 22, of Warner Robins, Ga., will play "Piano Concerto in A-Minor."
Miss Georgia State University, Emily L. Diamond, 21, of Cumming, Ga., will sing "Man of La Mancha."
Miss Capital City, Jazmine A. Scroggins, 23, of Atlanta, will sing "There's a Winner in You."
Miss Augusta, Kendyl R. Pennington, 19, of Augusta, Ga., will sing "I Dreamed a Dream."
Miss Heart of the City, Mary Ashley Tucker, 22, of Woodstock, Ga., will sing "Let Me Be Your Star."
Miss Conyers, MacKenzie Marable, 18, of Rome, Ga., will do a lyrical dance to "A Thousand Years."
Miss Lake Lanier, Meredith E. Crawley, 20, of Marietta, Ga., will sing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina."
Miss Historic Southern Plains, Amarinda E. Trear, 22, of Flowery Branch, Ga., will sing "Vole Mon Ange."
Miss Tri Rivers, Michelle K. Johnson, 21, of Warner Robins, Ga.,will sing "The Wizard and I."
Miss Rockdale County, Heather K. Burgess, 18, of Woodstock, Ga., will dance to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."
Miss Savannah River, Madison P. Brett, 21, of Kite, Ga., will dance to "Proud Mary."
Miss Golden Isles, Carmella M. Turner, 23, of Baxley, Ga., will sing "Love Is Where You Find It.",
Miss East Georgia State College, Austin M. Carruth, 20, of Swainsboro, Ga., will sing "In His Eyes.",
The 41 2013 Outstanding Teen contestants are also in three groups.
The Omega Group competes in evening wear and onstage question and answer tonight. Troup County's Outstanding Teen, Ansley T. Hawkins, 14, of Dallas, Ga., attends Mount Paran Christian School. Her platform is Stop Diabetes: Diabetes Awareness.
Macon's Outstanding Teen, Malone K. Powell, 15, of Macon, Ga., attends Deerfield Windsor School. Her platform is Home Is Where the Heart Is: Homelessness in America.
Fulton County's Outstanding Teen, Cassidy A. Starling, 15, of Canton, Ga., attends Blessed Trinity Catholic High School. Her platform: "Medicine and cosmetics have historically been tested on animals and often the testing is done in inhumane ways creating great discomfort, paine and even death in animals. I want to raise awareness that alternative testing methods do exist and animals should not be used."
North Georgia Mountains's Outstanding Teen, Olivia A. Grego, 14, of LaGrange, Ga., attends Troup County Comprehensive High School. Her platform is Stopping Seizures Now!: Raising Awareness for Epilepsy.
West Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Rachel A. Harry, 17, of LaGrange, attends LaGrange High School. Her platform is Healthy Smiles for Self-Esteem.
Marietta's Outstanding Teen, Kelly K. Hutchinson, 15, of Marietta, Ga., attends Harrison High School. Her platform is Activist for the American Cancer Society.
Hummingbird Festival's Outstanding Teen, Mallory E. Daniel, 16, of Martinez, Ga., attends Evans High School. Her platform is Volunteerism: Inspiring America's Youth Through Volunteers of America.
University of Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Courtney N. Grap, 17, of Dacula, Ga., attends Dacula High School. Her platform is Go Bare for a Cure.
Starr's Mills's Outstanding Teen, Emma M. Wernecke, 15, of Peachtree City, Ga., attends Starr's Mills High School. Her platform is CURE Childhood Cancer.
Magnolia Midland's Outstanding Teen, Allie Griffis, 15, of Eastman, Ga., attends Dodge County High School. Her platform is Teen Maze: Your Life, Your Choice, helping youth understand the choices and consequences they encounter in their everyday lives.
Cherokee Fair's Outstanding Teen, Sydney P. Lee, 15, of Cairo, Ga., attends Cairo High School and Bainbridge State College. Her platform in Promoting Civic Awareness Among Today's Youth.
Rockdale County's Outstanding Teen, McKayla A. Futral, 16, of Walnut Grove, Ga., attends Walnut Grove High School. Her platform is Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery of Lupus.
Cobb County's Outstanding Teen, Abby Quarles, 16, of Marietta, Ga., attends Johnson Ferry Christian Academy. Her platform is Arts for All -- Emphasizing that Art Is Smart.
Savannah River's Outstanding Teen, Karson A. Pennington, 15, of Martinez, Ga., attends Lakeside High School. Her platform is Reach Out and Read ... Promoting Literacy Among Georgia's Youths.
The Tau Group competes in fitness tonight. Fayette County's Outstanding Teen, Sarah E. Stallings, 16, of McDonough, Ga.
Coastal Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Bentley A. Wright, 14, of Vidalia, Ga.
Emanuel County's Outstanding Teen, Ivey H. Rowland, 13, of Wrightsville, Ga.
International City's Outstanding Teen, Carmen N. Foskey, 17, of Warner Robins, Ga.
Historic Southern Plains' Outstanding Teen, Taylor L. Peterson, 17, of Kathleen, Ga.
Altamaha's Outstanding Teen, Sarah C. DeLoach, 16, of Claxton, Ga.
Coastal Empire's Outstanding Teen, Jada M. Ussery, 15.
Tri Rivers' Outstanding Teen, Cassie V. Cothern, 15, of Alma, Ga.
Southeast Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Caitlan Coleman, 17, of Meeks, Ga.
Heart of the City's Outstanding Teen, Leila A. Collins, 16, of Edison, Ga.
Chattahoochee Valley's Outstanding Teen, Kyndall B. Ellis, 16, of Columbus.
Capital City's Outstanding Teen, Anna C. Tucker, 16, of Acworth, Ga.
Augusta's Outstanding Teen, Mollie L. Allen, 15, of Augusta, Ga.
South Central Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Caroline E. Carroll, 17, of Americus, Ga.
The Sigma Group competes in talent tonight. Gwinnett County's Outstanding Teen, Ashleigh C. Proctor, 16, of Martinez, Ga., will tap to "Big Time."
Lake Lanier's Outstanding Teen, Analise A. Kucera, 16, of Suwanee, Ga., will do a lyrical dance to "The Voice Within."
Rome's Outstanding Teen, Taylor McCoy, 17, of Dallas, Ga., will sing "Bring Me to Life."
Golden Isles' Outstanding Teen, Courtney R. Cochran. 17, of Sale City, Ga., will sing "Girl in 14G."
Warner Robins' Outstanding Teen, Sydney P. Hillman, 17, of Augusta, Ga., will sing "Ave Maria."
Columbus' Outstanding Teen, Anna L. Maley, 16, of Cataula, Ga., will do a lyrical dance to "Let Me Be Your Star."
Greater Atlanta's Outstanding Teen, Elizabeth "Lizzie" K. Stanford, 14, of Cuthbert, Ga., will dance a ballet en pointe to "Gypsy Rhapsody."
Cherokee Rose's Outstanding Teen, Kelly G. Donoghue, 17, of Marietta, Ga., will sing "His Eye Is on the Sparrow"/"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
Fountain City's Outstanding Teen, Ashton T. Leddon, 15, of Columbus, will sing "Mr. Paganini."
Conyers Cherry Blossom's Outstanding Teen, Kelly A. Rasmovich, 16, of Cumming, Ga., will do an acro/dance to "If I Had You."
Conyers' Outstanding Teen, Judith E. Higgins, 13, of Columbus, will do an acro/jazz dance to "The Time of My Life."
Atlanta's Outstanding Teen, EmmaKate Few, 14, of Augusta, Ga., will clog to "Are You Ready for a Miracle?"
Wayne County's Outstanding Teen, Cara Laine Sims, 17, will dance to "Celebrate."
The judges this year are Marina Harrison Cooper, Jack Cooper, Glenn Davis, Osjha Anderson Domenicone and Charlie Curry Vantramp.
Marina Cooper is deputy chief of staff to the president of Towson University, Maryland's second largest university. In her 18 months in the Miss America Pageant, she earned more than $50,000, allowing her to graduate from the University of Maryland debt-free. She is the only woman from Maryland to compete in both Miss America and Miss USA. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, Luke, and their two young children.
Jack Cooper is a former educator and was an elementary school principal. He is currently the president of the Miss Oklahoma Pageant Organization. He splits his time between Tulsa, Okla., and Dallas, Texas. He is the Southwest/West Regional curriculum specialist sales manager for Pearson, the largest educational solutions and publishing company in the world.
Davis is a former major league baseball player who played mostly for the Houston Astros and the Baltimore Orioles. In Columbus, where he retired from baseball, he is a Columbus City Councilor. He and his wife, Teresa, started Carpenter's Way, a faith-based, long-term residential care ministry. He serves on the advisory board of Methodist Children's Ministries. He and wife have three daughters.
Domenicone is the 1999 Miss Georgia. In the 2000 Miss America Pageant, she won the Bert Parks Memorial Talent Award. As Miss Georgia, she traveled more than 50,000 miles advocating character education. She had already graduated from Agnes Scott College when she won the title. After her year of service, she returned to the University of Georgia, where she received her juris doctorate in 2002 and became a member of the Georgia State Bar. She is currently the corporate counsel and director of governmental affairs for Select Management resources. She lives in Alpharetta, with her husband, Mike, and three daughters.
Vantramp is on the board of trustees for the Washington Scholarship Organization and the Tacoma-Pierce Country Chaplaincy Board. Reared in a military family, she has traveled all over the world and lived in Columbus while her husband, Raleigh, was in the U.S. Army. They own Dove Family Dentistry, where she works in the Human Resources Department.
Tickets are $65 tonight and $85 on Saturday.
Call the box office at 706-256-3612.