Miss America Pageant back to Atlantic City

Feb. 14, 2013 at 1:20 AM
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The Miss America Pageant is returning to Atlantic City, N.J., after an attempt to give it more glitz by moving to Las Vegas, state officials said Wednesday.

Gov. Chris Christie's office said a news conference has been scheduled Thursday in the Jersey Shore resort for the official announcement, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno will be joined by Miss America officials for the event.

The pageant was founded by an Atlantic City business group trying to extend the summer season into September. The first was held in 1921 with the winner, Margaret Gorman of Washington getting a $100 prize.

With the arrival of television, the pageant became a major national event, broadcast live to millions of people. But ratings peaked in the early 1960s and dropped sharply around 2000, and ABC decided to drop the broadcast in 2004.

The first Las Vegas pageant was held in January 2006, another break with tradition.

Lou Barthold, one of the executive directors of the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation, called the move a "big disappointment." He said he went out to Las Vegas for last year's pageant, and it just did not have the same feel.

"In Las Vegas, you were lucky to see anybody you knew other than going to the show," he said. "It's so large, so vast, with all the casinos out there."

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