Miss America Pageant Heads Back to New Jersey; Expected to Boost NJ Economy After Hurricane Sandy
The Miss America pageant is coming back to Atlantic City, New Jersey, according to the Associated Press.
The annual celebration of bikini-wear, baton-twirling and smiles will return to the east coast this fall, after years of being in Las Vegas, Gov. Chris Christie's spokesman Michael Drewniak confirmed Wednesday. Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno made the official announcement Thursday at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
Guadagno said Atlantic City and the pageant had an agreement to move back here for at least three years, but said no final details have yet to be made, according to Associated Press. Guadagno also added that no taxpayer money will be used as part of money being offered to bring the pageant back to New Jersey.
Atlantic City had been working hard to attract visitors after Superstorm Sandy hit the major attraction, and the announcement Thursday made note to a "multi-year agreement" being worked out with state development officials and the city's tourism bureau.
News of the return to the east coast came as a surprise to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which funded the pageant in January. Spokeswoman Courtney Fitzgerald said in a telephone interview that the tourism organization wished the pageant well in its new New Jersey home.
"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," said Guadagno. "New Jersey is proud to once again host the Miss America Pageant here in Atlantic City."
The Miss America pageant left New Jersey in 2006 after deciding it was too expensive to fund its production there.
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."
Guadagno said the return of the pageant is expected to generate at least $30 million in economic activity for Atlantic City and the surrounding region.