Miss America is heading back to Atlantic City.
On Valentine's Day, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno welcomed the pageant back to its birthplace after it moved to Las Vegas for six years.
“For decades, the Miss America organization has awarded scholarships to thousands of young women to help further their goals of higher education and achieve their dreams,” Guadagno said.
“New Jersey is proud to once again host the Miss America Pageant here in Atlantic City. We are confident that Atlantic City’s famous boardwalk and variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues will showcase the city’s vibrancy and attraction to the participants and many visitors that will attend the Miss America Pageant every year.”
The pageant began in 1921, and was held at Boardwalk Hall for 86 years, through 2006, when it moved to Las Vegas. This year's pageant was held in Las Vegas, and Lindsey Petrosh, of Egg Harbor City, represented New Jersey.
Last month, Petrosh told Galloway Patch she grew up watching the pageant at Boardwalk Hall, and said there was "nothing like it." While disappointed she wasn't able to compete at Boardwalk Hall, she was thrilled by the opportunity just to practice there.
And now, it seems, the pageant is on its way back to Atlantic City, pending board action by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) and the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority (ACCVA) later this month.
No official return date has been provided.
“Miss America is as much a part of Atlantic City as the beach and Boardwalk,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said. “It is great to see this event come back home. It could not have happened without the leadership of Acting Gov. Kim Guadagno.”
Since Superstorm Sandy hit the area in October, the public perception has been that the entire Jersey Shore has been decimated, despite the fact that most of Atlantic City's casinos were open for business by the end of that week, and they were all reopened by Nov. 5.
When he introduced the budget last month, Levinson noted a decline in the casino industry.
“I cannot think of a better way to reintroduce the country to Atlantic City,” CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said. “The return of Miss America to Atlantic City is indicative of the tremendous progress CRDA and its partners are making in revitalizing the city.”
"We are so very proud to bring Miss America back to her birthplace in Atlantic City,” said Sam Haskell III, chairman of the board for the Miss America Organization. “We are grateful to Gov. Christie and his staff for helping make this possible. Throughout the decades, Miss America has evolved into an organization that enables over 12,000 young women to enter and participate in our scholarship program each and every year.
"Today, Miss America remains an iconic symbol, and our roots have always stayed connected to Atlantic City. Our proud heritage is rich in history, having been named by USA Today as one of the Top Ten pieces of Americana remaining in our great country today.”