MARGATE — Avery Wythe, of Port Republic, and Julia Magill, of West Deptford, began their journey Saturday to bigger and better crowns by winning the titles of Miss Atlantic County and Miss Columbus Day, respectively.

"I really did not expect this," said Wythe. "It is so exciting to be here and to have the chance to compete for Miss New Jersey next year."

Both Wythe and Magill are eligible for the Miss New Jersey pageant to be held in Ocean City in June. The winner from there will go on to compete for the Miss America title in September 2018. 

Wythe, 19, performed a monologue for the talent portion of the pageant and wore a black sheer gown for her evening wear. Magill performed a lyrical dance routine and sparkled in a white gown in the evening wear segment.

First runner-up for Miss Atlantic County was Amanda Martinez, and the runner-up to Miss Columbus Day was Amanda Peacock.

The contestants included Martinez, Ashley Kulikowski, Danielle Barger, Wythe, Taylor Merinuk, Hailey Guildin, Tiffani Britton, Peacock and Magill.

Their platforms included fighting the stigma of epileptic seizures through dance, the Ronald McDonald House, helping fight food insecurity, mentoring and breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

Peacock created a music video about the dangers of distracted driving to the tune of Megan Trainor’s “All About the Bass” titled “All About Safe” that has been viewed more than 8,000 times. Each of the young women competed in talent, lifestyle and fitness, evening wear and interview segments.

Miss Atlantic County and Miss Columbus Day winners take home many sponsored prizes, along with $1,000 scholarships.

The theme of the pageant was Havana Nights, in honor of outgoing Miss Columbus Day Olivia Michael, who was the first runner-up in the Miss New Jersey competition in June 2016. At 24, Michael is retiring from competing, and the event featured a tribute to Michael, who was Miss Columbus Day in 2015 and 2017.

A special guest of the pageant was Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles, who began her journey to the crown as Miss Columbus Day. Ventnor Mayor Beth Maccagnano Holtzman was honored Sunday with the Christopher Columbus Distinguished Service Award. Holtzman was a contestant in the Miss Columbus Day Pageant in 1987 and again in 1981 when she competed opposite Charles.

“I am really honored to be chosen to receive this award because it is based on the work I am doing," said Holtzman.

The Bonnie Blue Foundation, headed by Giulietta Consalvo and Rosanna Consalvo Sarto, organize the annual Miss Columbus Day Miss Atlantic County Double Crown Pageant. Their mother, Francesca Bonnie Consalvo, was the organizer of the event for decades before she died in 2003.

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