Miss California pageant booms business throughout Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For 25 years, Miss California has been an annual event in the Central Valley.

Women from up and down the Golden State compete for the special title at the Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno.

But the pageant does more than just grant someone a chance of becoming Miss America and earning scholarship money. It also brings more than a million dollars to the city of Fresno during the week the girls are in town.

"It's been a real boom," said city official Mark Standriff. "They are taking advantage of the downtown businesses here."

One of those businesses is Joe's Steakhouse and Grill in downtown Fresno.

"We do a few tables more like the families coming in to see candidates," said employee Jackie Anaya.

That is what Stacey Souza is doing while she's in Fresno. She is renting a room at the DoubleTree Hotel to support two people competing in the pageant.

"I'm kind of a local I'm only like 45 minutes away, but I've never had any issues we've always been treated great by the city of Fresno," she said.

It's a city that is evolving, and that's something Miss Culver City has seen over the past four years.

"Last year, we were able to tour downtown and this year you see all the progress all the economic development, and it's great to grow with the organization and with Fresno," said Eileen Kim.

While some may say it is the central location or affordability that makes Fresno the hub for Miss California, one consistent factor from those we spoke with is hospitality.

"The friendliness of the people frankly it reminds me of being in Texas," said Fran Rogers.

"Fresno just welcomes us there is nothing they would not do for us," said Miss California volunteer Rebekah Dixon.

The 2019 Miss California candidates spent time Friday at The Vineyards Armenian Home meeting the residents and enjoying dinner together.

The ladies said it is always a favorite stop of theirs during the rehearsals.

The competition will take place Saturday night at the Saroyan Theatre from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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