Wednesday night parade starts Miss New Jersey week

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OCEAN CITY - Miss New Jersey is coming to town this week and the festivities begin with the boardwalk parade on Wednesday.

Twenty-four of the state’s most versatile young women will be in Ocean City for the 19th consecutive year because the state titleholder will be selected on the Music Pier on Saturday. The preliminary competitions will be held on Thursday and Friday. Each event start at 7 p.m.

The theme of the Wednesday parade is “The Red Carpet on the Ocean City Boardwalk.” The contestants will ride in convertibles and will dress like they would on a Hollywood red carpet.

The parade will start 7 p.m. Wednesday at Sixth Street and will proceed down the boardwalk to 14th Street.

Nine of the 24 women competing this year live or attended high school in Atlantic or Cape May counties.

The current Miss New Jersey is 21-year-old Cara McCollum of Princeton. She will lead the Wednesday night parade and be involved in the pageant shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Beginning on Thursday night, each of the women will be judged on their talent presentation plus their appearance in swimsuit and evening wear. They will also each meet with the panel of judges for a private interview, which is also part of the competition. A good part of the interview is based on the platform issues that the women select. The 10 who score the most points in the Thursday and Friday preliminaries will compete again Saturday night for the Miss New Jersey title.

From Cape May County are 19-year old Sarah Ford of Seaville, the reigning Miss Cape May County. She graduated from Ocean City High School and is about to enter her junior year at the University of Pittsburgh. And 21-year old Devon Vanderslice, an OCHS graduate about to enter her senior year at West Chester University.

The contestants with Atlantic County connections are Ashlyn Laveson, 20, of Ventnor, an Atlantic City graduate attending New York University; Courtney Fairfield, 22, of Egg Harbor Township, a Widener graduate and current Miss Atlantic County whose sister was Miss New Jersey in 2008; Kaitlyn Schoeffel, 21, of EHT, a senior at Montclair State; Cierra Kaler-Jones, 21, of Galloway, an Absegami graduate attending Douglass College; Amanda Ross, 19, of Galloway, attending Montclair State; Lindsey Giannini, 20, of Hammonton, attending Rowan; and Alyssa Clements, 23, of Atco, a graduate of St. Joseph-Hammonton and Rowan. 

Ocean City women have won the state pageant three times in the last 36 years. In fact, this year is the 36th anniversary of Laurie Berchtold’s win and the 26th anniversary of the 1988 crowning of Tricia Bowman. The other Ocean City winner was Amy Fissel (1991), who holds the rare distinction of winning the Miss New Jersey title in both the Miss America and Miss USA pageants.

Tickets are available by calling Mary Lou Cake at 856-424-3564 or, next week by calling 609-315-1423. Tickets are $35 for preliminaries, $50 for the final with a package price of $100 for all three nights. For other pageant information, call 609-525-9300.                                                               

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