It’s official, friends!
The Miss America Pageant is back where it belongs! On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The 53 Miss America contestants were warmly greeted by state, county and city officials Tuesday afternoon, and several hundred well wishers who crowded the boards at Kennedy Plaza in front of Booooardwalk Hall where the pageant will take place with finals on Sunday, September 15th,
Among the city, county and state officials welcoming the young ladies home were Kim Guadagno, Miss New Jersey’s Lt. Govern and Secretary of State; Lorenzo Langford, Honorable Mayor of Atlantic City; Dennis Levinson, Atlantic County Executive; John Palmmieri, Executive Director, Casino Reinvestment Development Association; Liza Cartmell, President, Atlantic City AllianceMargaret Belfield, Chief Operating Officer, Atlantic Care; Sam Haskell, III, Chairman & CEO, Miss America Organization, and Sharon Pearce, President, Miss America Organization.
Of course, Miss America 2013 Mallary Hagan also was on stage to greet the young ladies as the entered center stage to introduce them and sign their name on a huge United States map.
The spectacular event also was a fashion show as each contestant was elegantly dressed. Those standing on the boards in the audience and also the officials present enjoyed each contestant’s attire. It was special!
The two local misses vieing for the right to be called Miss America, Miss New Jersey, Cara McCollum, and Miss Pennsylvania, Annie Rossellini, were among the Miss America wannabes. Each was glamorous strutted on the Kennedy Plaza stage.
A highlight of the welcome home event was the unveiling of seven foot tall Miss America sculpture resembling the reigning Miss America Mallory Hagan, a temporary installment made of resin that was moved inside Boardwalk Hall.
The sculpture features Miss Hagan crowning the next Miss America and was crafted by sculptor Brian Hanlon, a Toms River, New Jersey, resident. The final version, a bronze statue, is expected to weigh between 600 and 1000 pounds when completed. It will stant on Kennedy Plaza.
According to the web site, the Miss America pageant is
a long-standing competition which awards scholarships to young women from the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The winner of the national pageant is awarded the title of "Miss America" for one year. The competition is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In January 2006, the pageant moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where it remained for seven years before returning to Atlantic City, New Jersey. The pageant presents itself as a "scholarship pageant", and the primary prizes for the winner and her runners-up arescholarships to the institution of her choice. The Miss America Scholarship program, along with its local and state affiliates, is the largest provider of scholarship money to young women in the United States and in the world.
In 2006 the program made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance. Since most of the contestants are college graduates already, or on the verge of graduating, most of their prize money is devoted to graduate school or professional school, or to pay off student loans for courses already taken.