PRATT — The city of Pratt has hosted the Miss Kansas competition since 1955, and every June, community leaders and volunteers roll out the red carpet of welcome to provide meals, parade transportation, showtime support and much more for the 30-40 contestants who come to vie for the state crown.

"I just love coming to Pratt," said Miss Kansas 2018 Hannah Klaassen. "Everyone here is so welcoming."

Klaassen, an Arkansas City native and Tabor College (Hillsboro) student, was crowned in Pratt in June 2018 after several days of singing, dancing, interviews, beautiful gowns and community appearances, including a large downtown parade. Each year, three nights of performances take place at Pratt Community College in the Dennis Lesh Arena, which is transformed into a glittering backdrop to feature some of the finest talent from across the state during the competition.

Pratt’s largest parade of the year takes place in honor of the Miss Kansas competition on the Friday evening of Miss Kansas week. Local car owners bring out their old and new convertible rides to transport each Miss Kansas candidate through town amidst cheering and waving crowds that line Main Street.

Candidate supporters often hustle into the procession giving flowers and balloon bouquets to their favorites. Local churches and civic organizations participate with floats and other parade entries turning it into a full-fledged community event. Candidates take part in photography and autograph signing appearances, often flanked by Sunflower princesses who get a spot in the limelight during the week.

Another annual event during Miss Kansas week in Pratt is the 75’s Dinner which honors area citizens 75 and older, served by the Miss Kansas candidates at the city Municipal Building.

The Miss Kansas Week in Pratt is an economic boon for hotels, restaurants, gift and flower shops. It also personifies the Miss Kansas organization motto, “Empowering women to be their best through education, social impact and service.”

Many local businesses support the Miss Kansas competition with scholarships and financial sponsorship. Post-competition social events include special entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at Park Hills Country Club.

The Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen Competition is also held in Pratt as part of the Miss Kansas week activities.

The 2019 Miss Kansas competition is set for June 6, 7 and 8. Ticket and donor information is available at www.misskansas.org.