September in Atlantic City will be awash with the ghost of Bert Parks and cries of “Show us your shoes!” The Miss America Pageant, vacationing in Las Vegas for the past six years, is returning to Atlantic City where she belongs. It was announced Thursday that the pageant that began here 93 years ago is coming home.
"It was always my dream that this would return here," said Art McMaster, president and CEO of the Miss America organization. "Sadly, this organization went west for a while. That sadness is over. We are back to the city where the Miss America pageant began, where the Miss America pageant was raised, and where the Miss America pageant belongs."
Atlantic County, N.J. Executive Dennis Levinson said having Miss America anywhere but Atlantic City just felt wrong. "Can anyone separate the Mummer's Parade from Philadelphia, or the Rose Bowl from Pasadena?" he asked. "Miss America is Atlantic City, and she's coming home."
No taxpayer money was used from a Sandy-ravaged Jersey Shore to bring Miss America home. Financial incentives are being provided by casino-funded groups and the casinos themselves. And the pageant is expected to generate at least $30 million dollars in revenue from the over 6,000 people associated with it who will need rooms and meals.
The pageant will take place at historic Boardwalk Hall sometime in September.