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      Miss South Carolina pageant moving to Columbia

      Miss South Carolina pageant chairman Steve Frocchi talks about the event's move to Columbia Monday morning.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The Miss South Carolina pageant is moving to Columbia next year.

      Officials announced Monday that the 2011 event will take place next summer at the Township Auditorium. The pageant has spent the last several years in Spartanburg.

      Columbia officials say they will incorporate Fort Jackson and several of the capital city's attractions into the weeklong pageant festivities. Organizers say Columbia's growth and its location were key factors in making it the backdrop for the summer 2011 event.

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      Officials estimate the event will generate at least $630,000 for the Columbia economy and account for 1,500 hotel room nights.

      "The central location is key to exposing our brand and the city of Columbia to folks that wouldn't normally see it," said Steve Frocchi, chairman of the Miss South Carolina scholarship program.

      Frocchi and executive director Ashley Byrd were installed as the new leadership of the pageant which had been run for 50 years by Joe and Gail Sanders. Joe Sanders announced his retirement in July after he was accused of trying to influence judges' evaluations of contestants.

      The pageant will start on June 25 with Miss South Carolina crowned on Saturday, July 2.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)