Atlantic City unveils Miss America statue, plans for pageant

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Miss America Nina Davuluri has some fun getting crowned all over again at the Brian Hanlon Miss America sculpture. Miss America Nina Davuluri has some fun getting crowned all over again at the Brian Hanlon Miss America sculpture. ATLANTIC CITY – Plans for the 93rd Miss America pageant are gearing up – and Miss America Organization CEO Sam Haskell said Monday, April 28 on the boardwalk at Kennedy Plaza that the plan is to build on last year’s success and go bigger.

He said the Miss America Show Us Your Shoes Parade, set for 5-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, will have many more free spaces available for families to come, set up their chairs, put down their blankets and make memories of their own.

“When we spoke with our fans, the one thing that everyone loved and had great memories of was coming to Atlantic City with their family and watching the parade. We want people to have the chance to make memories of their own,” Haskell said.  There will be a select few seats available for ticket holders, but the rest of the boardwalk will be for families and fans to cheer and enjoy the tradition of the parade.

The parade will begin at Revel Casino and end at Albany Avenue. Performances will be at Kennedy Plaza in front of Boardwalk Hall.
The plan is to include more local groups, youths, choirs, dance groups, tumblers and gymnasts.

Haskell said the 52 contestants will ride in convertibles along the parade route, something Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri described as one of the best events.  “I don’t remember much about the crowning, but I remember everything about the parade and all of the people cheering along the parade route,” she said Monday. “It defined the real heart of the events leading up to the pageant that the contestants experienced. That is what makes Atlantic City and Miss America perfect together.”

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian was part of the festivities Monday. “Welcome back, Miss America. We love you,” he said.

Standing in the shadow of Boardwalk Hall, the permanent Miss America statue was unveiled. Toms River sculptor Brian Hanlon talked about how honored he was to create a lasting tribute to Miss America.
The statue unveiled in September 2013 was a resin cast of Hanlon’s work. The 6,000-pound bronze sculpture was unveiled Monday in front of fans and supporters of Miss America, including Davuluri and Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles.

“This is a really important project for me. Not only is the statue something to decorate our landscape, but what it represents is so important,” Hanlon said. “The scholarship; I understand how hard so many people work to help change women’s lives.”

Hanlon said a panel featuring pictures of Charles and Bette Cooper, the only two Miss New Jerseys to win the crown, is an important part of the landscape in Kennedy Plaza.
While Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan was a model for the stature, it also draws from other contestants, including Charles, Hanlon said. “We wanted a statue that would reflect who Miss America is,” he said.

It is also meant to be fun, and the statue was an instant hit with everyone who walked by. They all wanted a picture of themselves being crowned.

The statue was the suggestion of local radio talk show Pinky Kravitz of Margate, according to Liza Cartmel of the Atlantic City Alliance. “Pinky was the brain that put the wheels in motion for the statue. The panels behind the statue help to celebrate the pageant’s Jersey roots,” she said. Kravitz called the finished statue a magnificent addition to Atlantic City and a popular spot for people to come for pictures. A kiosk near the statue will allow anyone to walk up and read about Miss America and its contestants throughout the 93-year history of the pageant.

Charles, who was living in Mays Landing when she went from being the first runner-up to becoming Miss America, said she was feeling a lot of emotion as she looked around. Charles acknowledged that the pageant has changed over the years, but said it still does what it has done since its beginnings, and that is to support the dreams of women.  “I think the pageant still represents the best in women,” she said.

Charles, who was accompanied by her daughter, Anna Pley, 18, said she was proud to be able to have her share of the experience in Atlantic City.

Haskell announced that unlike last year when tickets to the pageant events went on sale several weeks before the parade, the website is up and running, and visitors can check out the events and make plans to attend the preliminary competitions or the live broadcast. Miss America will also do a live “20/20” airing the hour prior to the pageant broadcast on ABC.

Groups and organizations can submit an application to be in the parade at www.showusyourshoes.com. Keep up on Miss America information at www.missamerica.org.

Standing with the new Miss America statue in Kennedy Plaza are from left, Susan Ney Thompson of the CRDA, Sharon Pearce of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell, Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles, Miss America Nina Davuluri, Liza Cartmel of the Atlantic City Alliance and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. Standing with the new Miss America statue in Kennedy Plaza are from left, Susan Ney Thompson of the CRDA, Sharon Pearce of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell, Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles, Miss America Nina Davuluri, Liza Cartmel of the Atlantic City Alliance and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles and her daughter, Anna Pley, stand in front of the Miss America panel on Kennedy Plaza with Charles’ photo. Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles and her daughter, Anna Pley, stand in front of the Miss America panel on Kennedy Plaza with Charles’ photo.

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian stands with Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles and Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri. Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian stands with Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles and Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri. Radio personality Pinky Kravitz stands with Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri and the bronze Miss America statue unveiled Monday, April 28. Radio personality Pinky Kravitz stands with Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri and the bronze Miss America statue unveiled Monday, April 28.

 


blog comments powered by Disqus