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This time, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas
ATLANTIC CITY – After spending the last seven years in Las Vegas, the Miss America pageant is coming back to where it all started 93 years ago.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno announced Thursday, Feb. 14 at Boardwalk Hall that the pageant would return to the hall in September.
“This deal came together in just six weeks and we are still working out the details – crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s,” said Guadagno, who is serving as acting governor while Gov. Chris Christie is out of state. “We are not sure of the exact date, but it will be in September.”
The return of the pageant is estimated to pump about $30 million in revenue into the region, she said.
Sam Haskell, chairman of the Miss America Organization, said the three-year deal to bring the pageant to Atlantic City is combined with a three-year pact with ABC to broadcast the show.
Guadagno credited Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson for setting the wheels in motion to get back the pageant by notifying the governor’s office that the Miss America Organization was at the end of its contract in Las Vegas and might be persuaded to return.
“Dec. 27 I was sitting in the Miss America Organization offices in Linwood with Art McMaster and Sam Haskell, and we starting working out a deal. It took us six weeks to bring it all together,” said Guadagno.
“Post-Sandy, people around the country are under the impression from the pictures they have seen that the Jersey Shore is closed for business. We know that is far from the truth and not only are we open for business but look around; you are going to like what you see,” added Guadagno.
The deal came together with the help of the Casino Reinvestment and Development Authority and the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, she said, noting that John Palmieri was also instrumental in bringing the deal together.
“People might say that Miss America is just a pageant that measures outward beauty, but it is so much more. Miss America is the largest scholarship organization in the world,” she said. The women who will one day be on this stage are poised women who will go onto to other stages: in medicine, in science, entertainment and even politics.”
McMaster said pageant officials were sorry to leave Atlantic City in 2007 and are very happy to return and hope to be back to stay.
Smiling, Guadagno said the pageant will definitely include a parade.
Miss New Jersey 2012 Lindsey Petrosh of Egg Harbor City said she was excited that “Miss America is coming back to where she belongs.”
A group of local Boardwalk Hall employees donned tiaras to attend the press conference.
“She belongs here, and we are thrilled to have her return,” said Francine Palumbo of Margate.