Contestants for the title of Greater Alliance Carnation Festival queen spent June 29 learning about the city and some of the companies that do business in town.

The tour is a tradition for the ladies taking part in the contest, and shows off how deeply rooted the area’s businesses are to the community and helping to build up Alliance within the region.

"Some of businesses have been here for a very long time, and other have a rich history in Alliance," said Jenny Ritchie, a pageant board member with the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival. "Sometimes we switch up the locations to try and get to other businesses, but some of them we come to every year like the MAC Trailer and We’re Rollin Pretzel Company. SES is a new one this year, and we have not done that before."

The group visited seven business in Alliance — Rodman Public Library, MAC Trailer, Doman Industries, Coastal Pet Products, SES Engineering, We’re Rollin Pretzel Company and Robertson’s Heating Supply.

Many of the contestants didn’t know much about the businesses’ role in the community.

During their visit to Rodman Public Library, the ladies got behind the scenes. They toured a materials storage area, reference area and the bookmobile/?delivery departments. In addition, the contestants took in the Alliance Room at the library.

"The Alliance Room is a local history room," said Nicole Brown, head of circulation and adult programming at Rodman Library. "We have many books about Alliance’s history, old city directories, local genealogies and also books by local authors.

"The public is allowed here, but they first need to gain access for check-in at the reference desk."

Contestant Jena Bennett enjoyed the off-limits aspect of the library tour.

"I really enjoyed the tour," she said. "It is cool to see behind the scenes of everything that people are not allowed to see. Actually, I’ve never been inside the library; I’ve been around it, but never been inside. It is really cool to see everything about the library."

The Alliance Room impressed contestant Carolyn Garrison.

"I really liked the Alliance Room because it has a lot of history," she said, adding that she enjoyed looking up her grandmother’s yearbook. She said she got "to see the fun things that she did, and I got to learn about how she was, and it was really fascinating."

The second stop for the tour was MAC Trailer, where they toured the facilities and ate breakfast. 

Doman Industries was up next, and contestants toured the facilities. During the visit, the ladies learned about options open to women that formerly only were held by men. Scott Butterfield, executive vice president, explained that when the company was started 80 years ago, only men worked there, but today women are as active as men in the industry.

"Just keep going and never ever say I can’t do that because you can," Butterfield said.