Miss California competition returns to Fresno, overcomes pandemic’s impact

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The 26th Miss California competition is back in Fresno following its cancelation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is being held at Fresno’s Doubletree Hilton hotel.

“I can tell you it’s a vibrant, diverse community. It is a perfect place to host this pageant because everybody can see just how diverse we are and really Fresno is a great representative of the entire state of California,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama.

“I believe it brings an incredible amount of notoriety to the City of Fresno throughout the state of California – it also boosts our local economy,” said Fresno City Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Seven of the 31 Miss California contestants are representing Central Valley Areas. The pageant’s CEO says the Central Valley was vital to keeping the organization going.

“I want to thank the City of Fresno, for twenty – I’ll call it 27 years of support because this city was supportive even when we were in our darkest hours with the pandemic. The pandemic was so severe to us by disrupting our revenue sources that it almost forced us out of business,” said Russ Gladden, the CEO of the Miss California Organization.

The only Miss California to hold the title for two years due to the pandemic said she expects 2020 hot topic issues to be at the forefront for competition questions for this year’s contestants.

“One of the things about being Miss California is adaptability and flexibility. This is all unprecedented for all of us and I had the title of Miss California at the time, but what was most important for these women to realize is that they need to be asked these questions because if it happens to them, God forbid it never does again, but if it does, they need to be prepared,” said Eileen Kim, Miss California of 2019 and 2020.

The first round of competitions begins Tuesday with the new Miss California set to be announced on Friday.

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