Through the state and local organizations, to support education, advocate community service, and provide young women with a forum in which to express their talents, intelligence and opinions in culture, politics, platforms, and the community;
- To provide unique opportunities for young women to win financial assistance in the nature of scholarship awards as a means of achieving their education goals, and to create and maintain a system of competition which will enhance opportunities and produce role models representing positive American values;
- To encourage the spirit of volunteerism throughout the Miss Virginia Organization’s network of local pageants, titleholders, and to promote good will and civic and economic benefits in the towns and cities which host the competitions leading to the Miss Virginia title;
- To use the Miss Virginia Organization as a vehicle for statewide awareness of the Miss America Program, fund raising opportunities for scholarships, and implementation of community service projects;
- To support statewide organization of volunteers that operate 12 months a year, who contribute time, resources and scholarship money to Miss Virginia programs in cities and towns throughout the state.
The Miss Virginia Pageant, a scholarship pageant, was held for the first time in Roanoke in 1953. That year, Elizabeth Bowles, a member of the Valley Junior Woman’s Club went to Atlantic City and requested a franchise for the Miss Virginia Pageant for her Club. She was successful in getting the franchise and the pageant was directed and produced by the Valley Junior Woman’s Club until 1963. In October of 1963, a non-profit organization, the Miss Virginia Pageant, Incorporated, headed by Jack C. Smith, Executive Vice President of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, was formed, and the franchise was granted to that group by the Miss America Pageant. The pageant celebrated its 50th year in Roanoke in June 2003.
The first Miss Virginia Pageants in Roanoke were held in the Ballroom at The Hotel Roanoke. Later on the pageant was moved to The American Theatre and remained there until the opening of the Roanoke Civic Center Auditorium. It moved to the Roanoke Civic Center Auditorium and continues to be held there.
Pageant headquarters have always been at the Hotel Roanoke with the exception of the time that the hotel was closed. The pageant moved its headquarters to Holiday Inn Tanglewood and stayed there until the Hotel Roanoke reopened. The Hotel Roanoke lends itself well to the pageant because of its beauty, charm and close proximity to the Civic Center Auditorium.
Virginia has had three young women to hold the title of Miss America — Kylene Barker – Miss America 1979, Miss America 1999, Nicole Johnson, and Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010. Virginia has been fortunate to consistently have contestants in the top ten or in the non-finalist talent and swimsuit categories or Quality of Life finalists.
The Miss Virginia Pageant has been televised every year but one since 1964 which gives the Roanoke Valley Area excellent statewide publicity. In addition, the area receives national publicity when Miss Virginia appears in the Miss America Pageant.
The Miss Virginia Pageant is important to the Roanoke Valley area in many ways — the economic impact it has on the Valley ranges from $1.1 million to $3 million each year.
The Miss Virginia Pageant is a scholarship pageant, and each year scholarship dollars are given to deserving young women from all over the state who participate in local pageants and the state pageant.
At the local and state Miss America competitions, over $45 million in scholarship assistance has been available to young women.
The Miss America Pageant is, and has been for years, the largest scholastic benefactor to women in the world.